Let our hearts be a little happy, r d f a gallery, 2022
Matt Lifson’s paintings employ symbolism and narrative devices that explore the relationship between trauma and the erotic through a queer lens. While immediate in their painted gestures, the figurative works linger in a transient space between anticipation and longing. The fragmented images bridge an overarching narrative of life cycles spanning love, transformation, loss, rebirth. Feathers inserted into orifices, flowers growing from erogenous zones, ghostly figures imprisoned by stained glass are woven together to create a system of allegorical symbols that illuminate peripheral questions surrounding queer intimacy.
Homoeroticism often evokes a more celebratory tone than what is presented in Let our hearts be a little happy. With the lights either dimmed or saturated with other-worldly hues, the men in these paintings feel as though they are trapped within a state of purgatorial longing rather than transcendental bliss. Although referential to tableaux of the erotic, Lifson excavates a deeper humanity within the figures engaged in his provocative compositions, critiquing the myths of queer relationships created by societal sensationalisms.