Palmerston North artist creating oil paintings for modern times

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Matthew Steedman's Screen Time is a collection of pixelated oil paintings that seek to explore human identity and connection.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Matthew Steedman’s Screen Time is a collection of pixelated oil paintings that seek to explore human identity and connection.

A local painter has turned his brush to the connection between our physical and online lives, and people will get their first glimpse this week.

Screen time, by artist Matthew Steedman of Palmerston North, is a collection of pixelated oil paintings that seek to explore human identity and connection.

The paintings will be on display at the Square Edge Arts Center from November 11 to 28.

Steedman said his work has been influenced by the sudden changes in our lives in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Her favorite painting in the collection, a hamburger, is titled Level Three and celebrates dropping alert levels and our obsession with takeout.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Her favorite painting in the collection, a hamburger, is titled Level Three and celebrates dropping alert levels and our obsession with takeout.

“I consider how much time we spend on devices now, how many of our interactions are, I guess, obscured or obscured by masks in the real world.”

Steedman said the exhibit included 15 paintings, a mix of pixelated images and QR codes, all but one of which will be on sale.

He had been working on the exhibit for about 10 months and each painting took between 30 and 80 hours to complete.

He used images from the Internet as well as his own photos, rasterized them through Photoshop, then painted each square by hand.

He didn’t use masking tape to achieve perfect squares, instead he embraced the imperfection of his work, even though he was quite sharp with a brush despite the lack of masking tape.

Steedman has been working on the show for about 10 months, with each painting taking between 30 and 80 hours.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Steedman has been working on the show for about 10 months, with each painting taking between 30 and 80 hours.

Steedman said he needed to choose images with enough detail to translate well into a pixelated shape.

It was his first solo show, but he felt calmer now, after his nerves peaked a few months ago.

“It’s very different, I think, to create a body of work in your studio away from the world and it feels like the private is about to become public.”

In July, he won the Arts Manawatū painting competition for his pixelated work of a woman taking a selfie, Insta-selfie.

Her favorite painting in the collection, a hamburger, was titled Level three. It was a celebration of dropping alert levels and our obsession with takeout.

Screen time was supported by the Creative Communities program of Palmerston North City Council.


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