In Repetition, Simulation, Repetition, Mathew Zefeldt plunges viewers into a simulated environment. His most recent brightly colored, hand-painted acrylic paintings include 16-bit graphics and textures appropriated directly from classic video games that many will remember playing as teenagers, such as DOOM, Super Mario Brothers, and Castle Wolfenstein.
The exhibition informs both a real and virtual investigation of mortality and individuality. One painting, When You’re Dead, You’re Dead, features a pixelated graphic of a hero’s face against a repeating brick background with cartoons of viscous Day-Glo paint. The hero’s direct gaze at the center of the composition is framed by the traditional momento mori motif of the human skull. Zefeldt opposes representations of a singular life a with virtual forms of lives and deaths that end then start over again and again.
The gallery walls of “Repetition, Simulation, Repetition” are covered floor to ceiling with sheets of 16-bit brick vinyl wallpaper which, when set behind the paintings, produce a hypnotic visual field reminiscent of video game environments.