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Meditation Patterns by Mat Vis


One 8" x 8" photo print of a Meditation Patterns in a modular PVC frame.

Excerpt from The Problem of Pain: Meditation Patterns by Matt Vis by Emily Farranto

Each Mediation Pattern began with a photograph capturing “weird junctions” in the institutional space, architectural features lacking harmony Vis would come to call “situational anomalies.” He described these to me as abrupt changes in the flooring, a drinking fountain next to a garbage can, strange corners. He would photograph then reorder the image, seeking harmony through symmetry. Working on his phone, Vis created a mirror image of half the photograph, making symmetrical what had been askew, setting it like a bone. He continued cropping, making adjustments until the original image had become like a mandala, ordered, mesmerizing, and right, though, unlike a mandala, the form is based on the square of Instagram rather than the circle representing the universe. The artist continued coping with these bed-ridden or chair-ridden visual meditations after leaving the hospital, where the continuation of pain was more like a labyrinth than a direct road to recovery.

Matt Vis’s art career has been shaped by a commitment to work collaboratively with Tony Campbell under the name Generic Art Solutions (G.A.S). “We don’t have separate art careers,” he said. I asked him to compare working in collaboration and working alone making the Meditation Patterns. When working as G.A.S., an idea (his or Campbell’s) begins as a germ in one mind, grows as a dialogue between two minds, and is completed with a series of designated tasks. Bringing the concept to form, in other words, making art, is the goal. Pain is not a concept. Pain may be the opposite of a concept. It is certainly not collaborative, but a space one inhabits alone. Work created from pain necessarily goes in the opposite direction of collaboration, not outward but in. The goal was not art with his Meditation Patterns, Vis said, “The only goal was survival.”

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