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Mathew Cerletty Weird Vibe

23 April 7 June 2014

installation view Mathew Cerletty, Weird Vibe
Office Baroque, Brussels, 2014

installation view Mathew Cerletty, Weird Vibe
Office Baroque, Brussels, 2014

installation view Mathew Cerletty, Weird Vibe
Office Baroque, Brussels, 2014

installation view Mathew Cerletty, Weird Vibe
Office Baroque, Brussels, 2014

installation view Mathew Cerletty, Weird Vibe
Office Baroque, Brussels, 2014

installation view Mathew Cerletty, Weird Vibe
Office Baroque, Brussels, 2014

Mathew Cerletty
This, 2014
oil on linen
67,3 × 81,3 cm (26 1/2 × 32 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Cold Water, 2014
watercolor on paper
20,3 × 25,4 cm (8 × 10 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Are Birds Good?,2014
watercolor on paper
20,3 × 25,4 cm (8 × 10 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Cloud Colored Christ, 2013
oil on linen
43,2 × 43,2 cm (17 × 17 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Milky Glances, 2013
oil on linen
71,1 × 54,6 cm (28 × 21 1/2 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Squiggle Eye, 2013
watercolor on paper
25,4 × 20,3 cm (10 × 8 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Oh, Hello, 2013
watercolor on paper
20,3 × 25,4 cm (8 × 10 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
White Door, 2013
oil on linen
88,9 × 88,9 cm (35 × 35 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Greetings, 2013
oil on linen
45,7 × 40,6 cm (18 × 16 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Weatherman, 2014
oil on linen
40,6 × 61 cm (16 × 24 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Dad Bird, 2013
watercolor on paper
33 × 45,1 cm (13 × 17 3/4 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
The Vest, 2013
watercolor on paper
20,3 × 25,4 cm (8 × 10 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
White Paper, 2013
oil on linen
40,6 × 40,6 cm (16 × 16 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Current Resident, 2014
oil on linen
121,9 × 86,4 cm (48 × 34 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Reunion, 2013
ink and pencil on paper
12,7 × 7,6 cm (5 × 3 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Old California, 2014
oil on linen
38 × 38 cm (14 15/16 × 14 15/16 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Blue Balloon, 2013
oil on linen
27,9 × 27,9 cm (11 × 11 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Mutual Friend, 2010/14
oil on linen
44,5 × 29,2 cm (17 1/2 × 11 1/2 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Mon-Fri, 2013
watercolor on paper
20,3 × 25,4 cm (8 × 10 inches)

Mathew Cerletty
Linda Loved Learning, 2013
watercolor on paper
25,4 × 20,3 cm (10 × 8 inches)


I’m obsessed with comedy. I listen pretty much non-stop while I’m painting–improv, stand-up, interviews with funny people, whatever I can get. In my head, paintings and jokes come from the same place. My studio is littered with premises like “lawn mower far away,” “wiggling pink paper” or “mailman in love.” The recent watercolors are an attempt to share the mysterious promise of that initial stage. Ideas that are developed into oil paintings go through a process not unlike the one described by Jerry Seinfeld, just different tricks for a different audience. Is it funny? Does it work? That’s all that matters.

The best subjects are usually familiar…here’s a favorite John Currin quote: “I think what I do is find a cliché and try to believe in it, try to get to where I don’t laugh at it.” Paintings talk slowly, so humor inevitably gets warped and transformed, often exposing underlying feelings. My sensibility tends toward the surreal, during studio visits people usually mention Magritte. I love Magritte, but I think my weirdness stems more from American culture and watching a million hours of tv. Growing up in the famously down-to-earth and repressed Midwest, I learned to express myself through slight deviations from normalcy. That inclination and my belief in painting’s continued viability are at the root of my fluid approach to style. So many different kinds of painting can work, and it’s most exciting when you make something that’s not immediately recognizable as your own. -MC, March 2014


Mathew Cerletty was born in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin in 1980. He has been included in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY; Royal Academy of Arts, London; State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia and Museum Voor Moderne Kunst, Oostende, Belgium.

The video Jerry Seinfeld: How to Write a Joke was originally made by Jenny Woodward for The New York Times

Ellen Mara De Wachter, ‘Mathew Cerletty / Walter Swennen’, Frieze, September 2014