Matt Minter, Makeup Applied, 2014, Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches
August 14 – September 26, 2015
Institute 193, Lexington
Matt Minter is a Lexington, KY-based countercultural polymath known for music projects, video production, and, perhaps most notably, illustration work. Regardless of medium, his collective creative output mercilessly taps the same singular vein of darkly humorous psychosexual horror tableaux.
Minter’s visual work employs the tropes of premium, intricately-detailed 70s international fetish sleaze and the graceless jacket art of 80s punk rock and metal albums. However, it subtly and deliberately reconfigures these themes in order to inflict upon the viewer the maximum of cognitive dissonance; one is left nauseated by his or her arousal and, naturally, vice versa. Figures loitering too near the uncanny valley to be dismissed as comic book caricatures are rendered in stark monochrome in various states of bodily distress and ecstasy one may commonly find in a direct-to-VHS American splatter film. Such figures beg to be forever immortalized in print on a bootleg t-shirt given as a consolation prize to a loser of the milk jug game at the county fair. Indeed, they are often spotted on posters trumpeting Kentucky dive bar rock shows.
Makeup Applied represents the zenith of Minter’s aesthetic: a disembodied arm unfurls unidentifiable viscera from a hole in the otherwise-featureless face of a blonde woman in repose as if featured in a vintage Penthouse; a maggot-faced submissive is serviced by a Domina whose head has been replaced by a severed foot in a high heel; a spider built from leather boots and a human skull hemorrhages black ooze across inverted pyramids of vaguely occult design. In each image, the iconography of erotica and horror are subverted in wonderful and confounding ways. Horror is indeed too weak and limiting a term for this work; what Minter plies, instead, is terror.