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Originally published on contemporaryartreview.la on May 28, 2015

The wall pieces presented in Eddie’s Gulch, a new solo show by Matt Siegle at Park View, are very pretty. Crackling grey paint lies atop raw linen, evoking dried mud or creases in a palm. Floating above, sepia-toned paintings show fragments of landscape. Prop-like sculptures dot the room: a crumpled tarp, a milk crate, and a small and minimal tent structure. The works are quiet and studied.

And then you find the slide list.

Stashed in Park View’s kitchen next to sparkling wine and empty cans of Tecate, the list of titles is key. Here, the reader is given a complex narration that the paintings alone could never provide. Paragraph-long titles are erotic novellas about modern-day gold miners working, sweating, and lusting. These stories, based on a group of men that Siegle has been photographing since 2013, focus on eroticism and wanton desire among its members. Ephemerality is central to Siegle’s writing: scent of body and earth ooze from the text. They propose timelessness, where only references to REI and Reebok suggest otherwise.

A viewer who fails to stumble into the kitchen is left to contend with polite abstract paintings and a group of found object sculptures, which come off as props and—like the paintings—accessories to the written narrative. Considering the importance of the writing, its demotion to the gallery’s kitchen is a mistake. Maybe this show would’ve been more successful as a book. Within, text and image could exist side-by-side, granting equal weight and momentum to the other as we flip each sweat and dirt-covered page.

Matt Siegle, I wear denim and soiled ripstop. In the canyon I sport white athletic socks, hiking boots bought used from REI parking lot sale—no cheap Reeboks actually. My t-shirt shaded gray with lightly brassy pit stains. The sweat collects at my hairline at the top of my head. Drips the SPF 30 off the tip of my nose. Chem-UVA-UVB droplets collecting on my chest hair, slithering down my core and abdomen and each notch of my spine. With every passing sun-minute my cotton shirt clings to my torso, closely now. The shirt darkening with perspiration, through the weave of the belt and soaking the 501s, dampens my athletic compression shirts, quads, junk, grime (2015), Acrylic on FSC-certified plasticized bags mounted to acrylic on linen, 43 x 43 inches. Image courtesy of Park View, Los Angeles, and the artist.

Matt Siegle, I wear denim and soiled ripstop. In the canyon I sport white athletic socks, hiking boots bought used from REI parking lot sale—no cheap Reeboks actually. My t-shirt shaded gray with lightly brassy pit stains. The sweat collects at my hairline at the top of my head. Drips the SPF 30 off the tip of my nose. Chem-UVA-UVB droplets collecting on my chest hair, slithering down my core and abdomen and each notch of my spine. With every passing sun-minute my cotton shirt clings to my torso, closely now. The shirt darkening with perspiration, through the weave of the belt and soaking the 501s, dampens my athletic compression shirts, quads, junk, grime (2015), Acrylic on FSC-certified plasticized bags mounted to acrylic on linen, 43 x 43 inches. Image courtesy of Park View, Los Angeles, and the artist.

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