Erik Mátrai

About the artist

Erik Mátrai’s latest exhibition, entitled "AIR," offers a profound exploration into the confluence of art, perception, and metaphysics, showcasing his most recent foray into abstract painting. This show presents an expansive array of large-scale canvases that fundamentally rethinks the conventional methodologies and philosophical underpinnings of the "color field" painting tradition. The series of sublime painterly works leverages both advanced techniques and profound conceptual foundations to bridge the realms of scientific discovery and transcendent experience.

The unique aspect of Mátrai’s approach in this series lies in his innovative use of spray painting techniques. Eschewing traditional brushwork, Mátrai develops his canvases through a method deeply rooted in the physicality of his own body and the rhythm of his breath. In this intricate process, minuscule, barely discernible dots of paint are meticulously applied next to and atop one another. The visual effect is one of vast, continuous fields where colors blend subtly into each other, producing an almost ethereal or atmospheric quality. These effects are not achieved through the physical blending of paint but through the optical mixture of colors, where tiny, distinct points of pure pigment converge in the viewer’s eye, creating a dynamic interplay of light and color reminiscent of pointillist techniques but realized through a completely original methodological framework. Further enriching the experience, Mátrai’s works on paper accompany the canvases, thus providing a visual dialogue that complements the larger painted works. These pieces, often smaller and more intimate, echo the thematic and stylistic concerns of the larger works, allowing viewers to engage with the core concepts at a different scale and through a different medium.

In his artistic vocabulary, Mátrai often draws upon the atmospheric—a key thematic element that connects his works to broader aesthetic and existential inquiries. The paintings in the AIR exhibition seem to open imaginary landscapes, portals to transcendental realms that suggest celestial or meteorological phenomena, stimulating the viewer’s sensory perception while inviting deeper, contemplative engagement. These canvases are not merely decorative but are meant to act as meditative surfaces that reflect on the nature of human perception and the porous boundaries between the self and the cosmos.

Mátrai’s educational background, with a degree in painting from the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in 2004 and a growing interest that quickly expanded into multimedia, including video installations, has provided him with a versatile platform from which to expand his artistic inquiry. Although his career initially pivoted toward large-scale spatial and light installations, his painterly sensibility has continually permeated his approach to new media. In this exhibition, one can observe a synthesis and re-channelling of his multimedia light art expertise into his deeper engagement with traditional and contemporary painting theories.

The exhibition does not simply present a series of visual experiences but poses significant questions about the nature of art itself. Mátrai’s works delve into fundamental issues of human experience—the connection between the human and the transcendent, the interplay between perception and representation, and the potential of art to mediate complex philosophical and spiritual truths. His work, situated at the intersection of light, color, and space, offers a contemporary re-evaluation of the potentials of abstract painting, suggesting new paths for understanding the visual and its impact on the human spirit.

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article from Mélyi József about Mátrai Erik's exhibition in Dunaújváros: