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Matthew Hickey, untitled
oil on canvas
24" x 36", 2001
Contact Hickey Studio at 631-427-7404 for more information

Matthew Hickey -  a 29 year old artist from New York known for his unique style of realism, has recently completed a painting simply called "Untitled". The canvas shows a heavily bearded man in a discheveled suit, seated at a table, accompanied by the battered helmet of  a fireman. The simple placement of the seated figure next to the helmet completes a powerful, albeit ambiguous composition.

Hickey recently explained  "I needed to do something to address 9/11. I’m born & raised in New York, so the influence of the tragedy on the lives of everyone around here was inescapable"  Hickey’s father is a retired member of the FDNY & NYPD, which, according to the artist, made the work "more of a personal necessity". When asked about the painting, Hickey explained that "I wanted to do something with a figure in an attempt to visually communicate the enormous sense of loss. I needed the figure to appear as if he might either collapse under the physical weight of his grief or fly into a rage. I didn’t want to do anything with any of the usual images of the towers, because I wanted to show a person. Faces will always convey emotion in a way that skyscrapers or newsreels cannot."

Regarding the tragedy of September 11th: "Some artists were stopped in their tracks, paralyzed by the loss. Others turned out rapid-fire, quick reaction work, as if to control psychological damage. Obviously it will take a long time for that immense event to soak into the cultural fabric: to turn from news into memory, from memory into history and then who knows how or even if? -  into art with some chance of permanence."

Holland Cotter, "Amid the Ashes, Creativity", New York Times, 2/1/02

The painting, in recognition of a tragedy of such enormous proportions with such a deceptively simple composition, has been received as a resounding success. It also clearly  shows the capabilities & impeccable craftsmanship of an artist who’s work seems poised to take it’s place among 21st-century representational painting.

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