A “polymath” is the exceptional specific whose expertise spans a sizeable quantity of subjects, one particular who is in a position to attract on elaborate bodies of info in get to solve specific troubles. In the case of high-quality artwork and portrait photographer Matthew Rolston, think of an artist whose observe spans the gamut – journal covers, advertising, creative path, audio video clips, publishing, training, and now, individual fine artwork jobs.

Soon after he was “discovered” by none other than Andy Warhol for Warhol’s Job interview magazine, Rolston went on to operate thoroughly for other well known publications, this sort of as Vogue, Vanity Honest, Harper’s Bazaar, and more than a hundred covers for Rolling Stone.

Rolston has several disparate jobs in seemingly unrelated fields – from the gallery wall to inventive path for some of the world’s top hoteliers – all of which are united by a impressive perception of what he calls “romantic notions about humanity.” Just consider a appear at his web site (matthewrolston.com) and you will get the thought.

Rolston’s most recent endeavor is an expansive exhibition at Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, California. It is called Art Individuals: The Pageant Portraits and was curated by Dr. Malcom Warner, the museum’s former executive director. It opens June 27, 2021 at this prestigious and historic museum. Eighteen huge-scale will work, some produced of several panels, fill the galleries of his solo exhibition, accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalog. The most awe-inspiring of Rolston’s performs is comprised of 20-6 personal photographs and commands in excess of 30 toes of wall space. It’s entitled The Past Supper. Coincidentally (or maybe not), the ultimate function of Rolston’s mentor, Warhol, was also entitled The Last Supper.

The exhibition showcases Rolston’s greater-than-lifestyle portraits of the volunteer actors who pose on artfully crafted sets in shimmering costumes and make-up to embody “art people,” that is, the figures in perfectly-regarded functions of artwork brought to everyday living in an yearly tableau vivant amusement named Pageant of the Masters. This elaborate, and possibly eccentric, generation is a beloved Southern California tradition that has taken location each summer months in the artwork colony of Laguna Seaside for over eighty yrs.

Rolston attended Pageant of the Masters quite a few moments with his spouse and children as a boy or girl and remembers getting overwhelmed by “the theatricality of it all.” He has mentioned that getting exposed to the Pageant as a youngster was a pivotal minute major to his vocation as an artist.

Searching for a photographic issue to convey suggestions about artmaking and its location in the human practical experience, Rolston returned to the Pageant in 2015 on assignment for the Wall Avenue Journal. Far from creating the is effective now on display screen, Rolston was tasked with documenting the Pageant system backstage which gave him the exclusive possibility to meet the Pageant’s creators. That 1st meeting led to him finally obtaining unusual entry to the pageant performers in order to make the system of perform he now phone calls Artwork People today.

In Rolston’s amazing, richly hued portraits, he provides not only a deeply poignant and own account of Pageant of the Masters and its contributors, but also underscores the uncanny ways in which these operates carry out fundamental aspirations of the human spirit and its fundamental impulse in direction of art development.

Reported curator Warner, “By isolating his subjects, and presenting them in these types of substantial definition that the painted-on brushwork and patinas expose themselves as the make-up that they are, Rolston provides out the weird, melancholy poetry of true folks impersonating painted and sculpted ones.”

Laguna Beach’s Pageant of the Masters is in by itself an remarkable meta-journey into art building. It’s a sort of art about artwork about art. So is Art Men and women. “It’s a sort of hall of mirrors,” notes Rolston. “Artwork Men and women is also a doc of men and women. These are, just after all, portraits of the volunteers who perform in the Pageant. They themselves are Art Folks.”


Matthew Rolston’s Art Folks: The Pageant Portraits is on see from June 27th to September 19, 2021, at the Laguna Art Museum, positioned at 307 Cliff Drive, in Laguna Beach, California.

Exhibition: https://lagunaartmuseum.org/exhibitions/matthew-rolston-artwork-persons-the-pageant-portraits

Gallery: http://www.faheykleingallery.com/artists/matthew-rolston/collection/artwork-men and women?check out=slider#5

Website: www.matthewrolstonartpeople.com

Instagram: @matthewrolstonstudio


Patricia Lanza : Can you make clear the character of your exhibition?

Matthew Rolston : This is my to start with solo institutional display on the West Coastline. My perform has been proven all all-around the world in galleries and museums. I’ve taken portion in equally solo and team displays but I have by no means experienced a solo display in my residence condition of California.

The exhibition by itself includes eighteen substantial-resolution photographic will work, portraits of the volunteer actors in a regional artwork tableau vivant entertainment termed Pageant of the Masters. The illustrations or photos are printed on a monumental scale.

The aim is to create a visible conversation involving portray and photography. Not by applying any photographic trickery, no bogus brush strokes added in put up. In its place, I’ve picked to photograph topics who them selves are painted (as are their costumes). The superior-resolution, grand-scale structure, printed in archival pigments on rag paper, furthers this painterly quality. There are portraits, diptychs, and elaborate groupings, often juxtaposed towards images of the makeup templates created by the Pageant team – that is, makeup painted on to Styrofoam heads. These are interesting objects in and of themselves.

The museum has also made a fairly unusual exhibition catalog. It’s a collaboration concerning myself and the exhibition curator, Dr. Malcom Warner, the museum’s lately retired govt director. I say “unusual” because the catalog is made in a concertina structure, folded alternatively than certain, and it’s provided in two versions, a superbly made typical edition as nicely as a deluxe confined and numbered collector’s version, showcasing a signed print enclosed in a folio.

PL : What is Pageant of the Masters? Why did you pick to base your series on that party?

Matthew Rolston : Pageant of the Masters is identified for its reside shows of art masterpieces. It has taken spot every single summer season night time for in excess of eighty many years in a wonderful outside amphitheater in Laguna Canyon, not considerably from the town’s principal beach front. The Pageant is an elaborate tableau vivant entertainment in which volunteer actors are painted and costumed, placed on artfully crafted and lighted sets, and reenact pivotal historical figures and performs from artwork historical past, from antiquity via twentieth century modernism. 

I was hunting for a way to use portraiture as both of those a commentary and examination of a extremely straightforward human dilemma: why do we make artwork? There is no a person answer to this concern. My hope is that the viewers will have interaction with my photographs and inquire them selves that issue, thereby starting an interior dialogue into this fairly mysterious topic.

PL : What was your approach? How did you go about it?

Matthew Rolston: I attended the Pageant several situations as a youngster with my loved ones. It was a formative encounter of my youth and in some strategies led to my determining as an artist. I have usually been fascinated with the Pageant – the stagecraft, the illusion, and of study course its subject, art.

I returned to the Pageant as an adult at just the minute when I was browsing for a “way in” to a visible discourse about artmaking. Upon that pay a visit to I promptly understood I had located the best matter. It took a even though to attain the trust of the Pageant of Arts of Laguna Seashore, which is the producer of Pageant of the Masters, but eventually, as a result of the courtesy of the Festival’s board and the project getting championed by the Pageant’s longtime director, Diane Challis Davy, I was able to attain hardly ever granted accessibility to the performers and spent various months photographing them in a makeshift studio established up backstage during the operate of the demonstrate. 

PL : You’re acknowledged for celebrity portraiture and glamour, is there a relationship in this article?

Matthew Rolston: Persons know my movie star portraiture as a celebration of glamour, and it typically references the ‘old Hollywood’ values of unachievable perfection. As I’ve developed more mature, I have started to comprehend that the pursuit of unachievable perfection is a denial of getting older and death. I also started to notice that the lovely and the grotesque are deeply intertwined. They are really two sides of the identical coin. This has become a fascination. There is tremendous poetry to be uncovered in imperfection. I feeling a type of bravery in human beings as they attempt to deny their possess humanity and take on the guise of ‘gods’ in a futile lookup for perfection.

With this series I’ve experimented with to display the humanity guiding the theatrics of topics masked in levels of caked-on makeup, entire body paint, and metallic powder. Much from glamourous Hollywood stars, my portrait topics for Artwork Folks stem from all walks of existence and social backgrounds. I sensed a thing the two tragic and noble in the act of common individuals selecting to impersonate well-known artworks.

In the long run, both equally the glamorous and the regular, the gorgeous and the grotesque, are united as expressions of the glory and scourge of humanity…our fertile creativeness.

PL : What are artwork folks? Why did you select this title?

Matthew Rolston: “Art people” is a moniker normally applied to associates of the present-day art earth, a loosely structured international local community – a glamorous and world wide crowd— of artwork reasonable-attending collectors, artists, curators and of training course, the all-critical gallerists.

Art People today: The Pageant Portraits is some thing really different. These Art Men and women are not individuals artwork individuals, so possibly there is an element of irony in my preference of title. This venture is a record, through photographic portraiture, of the volunteers who allowed them selves to be painted and costumed as living works of art in the Pageant’s 2016 creation, all in support of a straightforward existential question: why do individuals make art?