The Instagram Art of Mathu Andersen gallery opens this TODAY (Thursday, November 13th) at the World of Wonder Productions storefront gallery. The gallery will exhibit the works of pre-eminent artist Mathu Andersen. The Instagram Art of Mathu Andersen will be Andersen’s first solo show after building a large following online to critical acclaim. Resonating through Andersen’s work are themes of vanity along with challenges to societal notions of gender.
World of Wonder Co-Founder Fenton Bailey says “Mathu’s self-portraits take the selfie to new heights. They crash through the vanity of social media to create works that challenge our idea of beauty.” Adds co-founder Randy Barbato: “We are so proud at the World of Wonder Storefront Galley to exhibit Mathu Andersen’s first solo show. Mathu has been selfless in sharing himself with his fans on social media. We believe these portraits deserve an up-close look in person.”
Mathu describes his Instagram work as “my odd interior world of light and shadow, gods and monsters, A place where villains are sympathetic and the heroes are idiots.” On choosing photos for the exhibit, Mathu says “After a couple of days of unbecoming petulant behavior, I settled for a mix of images that were popular and images that were personal and particular to me. I did wonder how the images would work outside of the context of Instagram. Hopefully, I have chosen well.”
A handful Mathu’s photographs that will be featured in the exhibit have already been sold to excited buyers. After Thursday night’s reception, the gallery will be open by appointment only. Call 323-603-6300 for inquires.
From a piece about Mathu in The Advocate:
Eschewing the label of a drag queen or performer, Andersen points out that his transformations do more than subvert gender; they also challenge the boundaries set by age, class, and even species.
“For years, I felt like I was playing at being a human,” he says. “I’m 50, and that’s interesting in the way I look and the way I can present myself transcends so many aspects… It’s really about completely breaking away from the labels.”
Stepping back, he now sees these figures as not self-portraits, but as “friends or people I know. They’re not me — they’re aspects of me,” which have taken on their own lives after being shared online. “You’re the origin, but it’s no longer just you,” he says.
Rather than other forms of social media like the text-heavy Twitter, Instagram offers Andersen an ideal medium for his visually based profession and mind. Followers and online fame aside, he has found value in Instagram as a “sketch pad” that offers a freedom to explore and grow that is sometimes not available when working for a client in the real world. In this online workshop, he can experiment with different makeup or styling techniques, and document the fascinating in-between stages of transformation.