February 22nd, 2014

Two of my paintings have took a long journey over to America for a group show at Dax Gallery


February 21st, 2014

I have a few of my cityscape pieces in a group show at Gallery Different

‘My Point of View’ – An Exhibition of landscapes featuring painting by Paul Bennet, Denis Bowen, Garry Raymond-Pereira, Robin Richmond, Guy Portelli, Matt Small and photography by Julie Chamberlain.

Among all of the subjects that can be the focus for artists, for the viewer, landscapes are probably the most familiar and understood. In reality however landscape painting and drawing is as much a glimpse into the mind of the artist as any other subject. In this exhibition six artists who choose to work with landscape, each with a very different style and approach, give us their point of view.



February 6th, 2014

Next thursday (13th feb) begins a new two human show featuring my new sculpture works, rust portraits and a couple of paintings. These can be seen at the James Freeman Gallery down in Islington North London



November 4th, 2013

The art magazine Very Nearly Almost has done a feature on Me, Myself and I…Mc Cooly Small.
There will be a launch night for the mag….

VNA issue 24 launches on Thursday the 7th of November at 32-34 Kingsland Rd, London E2 8DA . 6-9pm



October 28th, 2013

serrena gallerydif


October 15th, 2013

This thursday 17th sees the start of Moniker Art Fair
I shall have a few of my big beastly paintings hanging in there…



October 6th, 2013

I will be showing some new paintings and sculptures at the Strarta Art FAir. My works can be found at the Gallery Different stand.
The fair begins this thursday and is being held at the swanky spanky Saatchi Gallery…….nice

Gallery Different is excited to be exhibiting at the first STRARTA Art Fair, which will take place from the 10th to the 13th October inclusive.

Duke of York’s HQ
King’s Road
London SW3

serenna smallfile workd on


September 23rd, 2013

I have some new work in this group show at Gallery Different…..thursday 26th of this month is the opening..roll on down and have a gander


In a world increasingly dominated by media imagery, the rendering of portraiture is changing. No longer is it merely a statement about the portrait subject immortalising their perceived place in the world, but is much more a statement by the artist both on the art of portraiture itself, and on the concepts of identity, social acceptance, self image, social and political inequality and the role of celebrity. The artists in this exhibition explore these themes in a range of media and genres including painting, sculpture, mixed media and photography – demonstrating our continuing obsession with the ‘Face’

Thursday 26th September


Johan Andersson, Martyn Baldwin, Nathan Browning, Mike Clay,

Charlie Davies, Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf, Mauricio Foubert, Keith Haynes, Francoise Nielly, Maggie Nolan, Cinzia Pellin,Guy Portelli, Matthew Small,

Paul Thwaites, Johan Wahlstrom, Suzie Zamit


August 19th, 2013

Ive had a great time working at the Thames Barrier Print studio.
Kevin is the latest etching to be completed there, thanks to Nick for helping make both Letisha and Kevin happen, and to Nelly Duff for being such a stellar lass of a gallery…


kevin etching in bath




kev.finished piece


August 11th, 2013

In the fashion of other cloaked baddies – the grim reaper, the four horseman of the apocalypse, evil dwarves etc. – “hoodies ” strike fear into the heart of polite society. (Or rather, the sullen teenagers concealed in their poly-cotton folds). Matt Small revisions this maligned, and secretly revered, sub-culture in his latest exhibition This is England.

The Kentish town artist says of his subjects (usually black and Asian males): “If you live in certain areas, talk in a certain way and dress in a certain way, suddenly you do become boxed into this Daily Mail perception….I try to portray them as individuals, full of life and energy.”

Worry not, Small’s message is far from David Cameron’s trite “hug a hoodie” appeal. (The Tory leader said misunderstood teenagers who hide beneath their street uniform are just trying to “blend in.”) For one thing, his paintings are stripped of moral tenor. Faces feature neither malice nor vulnerability and their stoical expressions bring them, perhaps unwittingly, closer to the historical canon of portraiture with its aristocrats and military generals.

But, while these luminaries were expected to sit stiffly powdered for their portraits, Small approaches his subjects furtively. Filming people in secret is both a practical necessity – imagine saying to a 16 year old: ‘I really like your face, come back to my house and I’ll pay you some money’ – and a way of “stealing moments of them in their natural habitat.” For the artist, 15 seconds of footage reveals more about somebody’s peculiar mannerisms and attitudes than hours of posing in the studio.

Occasionally unsuspecting targets catch him red-handed (“the video camera must make me look like an undercover cop”) but the rest never realise they have been immortalised. “It’s not about the fact that the person knows there’s a picture of them in a gallery, it’s about the fact that there is one: that someone has included them in the world,” he explains. Probably just as well, since earlier in his career Matt was confronted by the mercantile aspirations of his chosen subjects. When they saw their likeness selling for thousands of pounds, some of the kids demanded a profit cut.

Once captured on video, the face undergoes a metamorphosis. First, frozen film frames are transcribed as black and white tonal studies, then discarded. With the sketches serving as guides, each painting starts it’s journey as a “conventionally” executed representation, before being doused liberally with Matt’s trademark mixture of oils and water colour. As the immiscible paints retract from one another, lush marbled patterns emerge and he has to wrestle human form out of chaos. “In that time I’m shitting myself because I’ve spent ages on this picture – where are the bloody eyes, where’s the nose? It can go completely wrong but it means each piece is unique – I can never repeat the process,” he says. In the resulting work, faces dance beneath eruptions of visceral red and purple like three dimensional magic eye drawings.

Matt sees his build-and-destroy technique, which he calls “painting from the inside out,” as a reaction against the received wisdoms about figurative art drummed into school children. His biggest influences, Jean Dubuffet and the ‘outsider art’ movement, tried to recapture the pure lucid style of innocents and asylum inmates, who had not been contaminated by academic or modish trends. He explains: “There are mad people out in Texas with houses made of spoons and funny faces – they’ve never been to art college but to me they’re the true artists.”

The artist’s preoccupation with the urban environment dictates his choice of materials. Dubbed ‘the metal man,’ Matt creates his thickly textured works on scrap steel, like abandoned car doors, found in the same vicinity as his subjects. “A lot of kids feel like they’ve been discarded, so it’s very relevant to paint on debris and found material,” he says. In an earlier series included in the current exhibition, hard concrete surfaces are used as canvases.

Matt Small has become something of a celebrity darling in recent years, counting Goldie and British actor Sean Pertwee among his fans. But, when wealthy admirers demand portraits of themselves in rudeboy style, popularity becomes uncomfortable. “I’ve had loads of people wanting commissions but my work is about anonymity, it’s not about rich people saying – I want a picture like that it’s so gritty,” he says.

Most notably nominated for the BP Portrait Prize in 2001, for Matt, the biggest accolade is young people catching a resemblance to their own friends in his pictures: “then it all becomes beautiful.”

Laura Mitchison for Revelation

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