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The Fifty-One Faces of Matt Dine

The Fifty-One Faces of Matt Dine

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Published by Rena Silverman
Profile on Matt Dine, leading oboe player and photographer.
Profile on Matt Dine, leading oboe player and photographer.

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Published by: Rena Silverman on Sep 03, 2012
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09/03/2012

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The Fifty-One Faces of Matthew Dine
April 4, 7:07 AM · Rena Silverman - Manhattan Photography Examiner Matthew Dine is an oboist and a photographer. He is also obsessed with the number 17. In the beginning, Dine intended to hang over 200 prints for his debut exhibition, but others convinced him to cut it down to 50. This was difficult for Dine to accept, not because he had to slash out two-thirds of his photographs from his show, but because 50 is not a multiple of 17. However, apart from representing the amount of syllables in a haiku, the number to call the police in france, and the atomic number of chlorine, 17--a prime number--is also a factor of 51, just one integer north of 50. Ergo, the exhibition bore its name, “Fifty-One Faces”; a decision well-suited for the mathematical, musical, and curatorial parts of Dine, who said in a phone interview, “Fifty-One Faces sounds better than Fifty Faces anyway.”
A portrait of the artist's mother. Photo © Matthew Dine.

Forget how it sounds, the exhibition looks absolutely exquisite. Delivering just the ratio of image to row to wall that a perfectionist requires, Dine has arranged his portraits into one collinear path broken only by the intermittent edge of white wall, which emerges just before the corner turns. The result--per wall--looks something like a proximal row of kodachrome slides mounted against a bordering blue strip, which is bisecting the wall behind it. His portraits feature a profound variety of subject matter all shot from the neck up: kids, old folks, dogs, adults, infants, a shrink, and one eye doctor who stood like a riddle, fully focused in front of his blurred chart. One image that stands out the most, is of a woman with a blue hat, although it is not, by any means, reminiscent of Picasso’s crazy cubist version of his own “Woman in a Blue Hat.” On the contrary, this woman is poised quite elegantly just right of center, looking directly at us with the same sparkle of blue in her eyes as she has in her hat. Each subject is framed within a different context of lighting, location, and color, but as flautist Judith Mendenhall pointed out, “everyone is looking directly into your eyes.” Mendenhall, who was present at last week’s opening described here eye-to-eye experience with the subjects as something “we're all wanting in real life.” Carol Zeavin, violinist and long time friend to Matt Dine was also present at the opening. “Knowing most of the ‘faces’ on the wall,” said Zeavin, “I can’t say that the photos represented their owners’ characteristic moods.” But Zeavin believes that this is “even more to the photographer's credit that he was able to create such iconic portraits.” In reference to her favorite image of the show, Zeavin selected, “the dogs who just leapt off the wall!” “Matt has a way of making everything he does feel personal and fun,” said violinist Martha Caplin. The experience is indeed personal; Dine’s images do not exceed 11 x 14 inches, a deep sigh of relief for visitors who travel from any neighboring chelsea gallery, where huge serves as the botox for wrinkles in creativity (oh how they leave you expressionless, catatonic.) (Dine does not by any means need creative botox. He’s doing just fine. ) In fact, both Nature and Nurture can accept equal responsibility for the outcome of Matthew Dine, who was born into a family (or should I say DINE-isty) of serious visual artists. His father Jim Dine is a renowned artist who broke the ground in the late 1950s

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and early 1960s first with his “Happenings” and then with his “Pop Art”, which he exhibited alongside Andy Warhol, Edward Ruscha and other such names of fame in one of the first Pop Art shows to ever hit the record of American history. Hence, Matt Dine’s statement, “Visual art has been a part of my life.” Within the visual arts, photography was a popular medium. “Both my parents are photographers and my older brother is a photographer,” said Dine. “We had a dark room when we were kids.” And when Dine wasn’t in the darkroom, he was playing the oboe, an instrument he picked up at age 15 after spotting its image in the dictionary. Now he is the co-principle oboist for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, playing at venues like Carnegie Hall, which is--for those of you who need visual reference--the Met Museum of Music. But just a few weeks ago, Dine was forced to take a break from the oboe, after undergoing serious neck surgery. While most people would rest and kvetch under these circumstances, Dine decided to curate his own photography show. “I can't play right now so its a perfect way to be productive,” said Dine. And, “if no one else thinks I'm lucky at least I think I'm lucky,” he said, ending the phone interview with a quick, “we will see.” In the words of Judith Mendehall, “i say ‘bravo’ to matt, and keep going!”

-------Fifty-One Faces is open until Sunday April 4th at 5:00pm at the MAD Gallery; 520 West 27th street.

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Rena Silverman is an Examiner from New York. You can see Rena's articles at: http://www.Examiner.com/x-37754-Manhattan-Photography-Examiner"

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