Gallery Once

"Black Box" by artist Matt Smalley

On display from July 19th to August 23rdthumbnail_IMG-1540

“Black Box” was created specifically for this showing. It was initially conceived as a project to introduce the idea of video synthesis to the community and to create a series of still images using the medium, something not often seen. Over the course of a year, dozens of images were created but just ten were chosen, each using different techniques. All throughout the process, the idea of having something to unify the look of each piece was at the forefront. In psychology, the term “black box” is often used by behaviorists to refer to the inner workings of the mind that cannot quite be quantified. In airplane crashes, a “black box” (although usually orange) is the data recorder that can maybe explain a deadly chain of events. After a while it became clear that each piece was coming out of black boxes for me as well: the 1986 Sony Trinitron that I use as my primary “canvas”, the video piles and piles of video gear that I can only begin to understand, and my own mind which I could never hope to understand. The name stuck.

Matt Smalley is an experimental visual artist and musician from Littleton, MA. At UMass Lowell, his senior thesis, “Rear Projection: Film Behind the Wall” explored color psychology and liminality in late-Soviet film. After graduating from the Honors College there with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Latin American Politics, he has been working in a number of modalities, including painting, illustration, and animation.

Much of Matt’s work has involved animation with video synthesizers, technology born out of TV studios in the ‘60s and ‘70s. All of these pieces, both moving and still, are created by pairing antiquated technology like camcorders, CRTs, VCRs, and video synths with digital and frame-by-frame animation. Using these tools, he has gone on to work with regional bands for live concert projection and the creation of music videos. From July 19 - August 23, 2023, his first solo exhibition, “Black Box” will be showing at Gallery Once in Littleton, MA. Like all of his pieces, these were all “painted” on videotape.

As a musician, Matt has played in rock bands, jazz combos, theater pits, and orchestras across the northeast U.S. and Canada on upright and electric bass, drums, guitar, synths, and pedal steel guitar. As Goat Motel, he has self-produced four EPs. Another EP is set to release this coming August, with a full-length album following not far behind.

Click here for more information on Matt's work.