February 12th Opening Susan Singer and John Lee Matney



From Hurt to Harmony: Body Image and Consciousness in Transition

Because art is a reflection of the state of the artist's soul, it is often a tool for healing - both of the artist and the observer. The pieces on display in From Hurt to Harmony: Body Image and Consciousness in Transition reflect the individual journeys of two artists as they work with their humanness and reach towards wholeness.

John Lee Matney first recognized the intersection of psychology and fashion photography in 1993 when he started his fashion photography business.  Developing his photography in Atlanta was a highly rewarding experience as he discovered international models and opportunities to cover fashion shows where designers  such as Versace were featured. Matney continues to be in contact with celebrated Atlanta creatives in his consulting business and has seen growth toward a more international sensibility in fashion and art in Virginia. Coinciding with the beginning of his fashion business, he developed new personal work featuring the figure – a blend of his work in fashion and his fascination with psychology.


Shelia by Lee Matney


Matney says, “My work in From Hurt to Harmony explores my preoccupation with the mysteries of the psyche and how we perceive our bodies. It mirrors transformative experiences where various elements are projected through time – archaic elements, alienation, and danger, to mention a few. Many of my images play with the edge between safety and danger and psychological states which are recurring themes in my work. As the years have gone by, I have begun creating pieces - photographs, mostly - which focus on a reconciliation of the individual with a more universal and objective view of social awareness. The show will document these aspects of my journey as an artist and a person”.


detail from Singer's newest work


Since she began creating art, Susan Singer has always used images of the human form to work through hurts in her own life. She first drew miniature graphite images of the pregnant form in an attempt to come to terms with feelings she had when she was pregnant. Later, after her son’s life-saving spinal surgery which left him with an 8-inch scar, she drew that scar and those of others as a way to
integrate the fear she had experienced during his operation into acceptance of his newly limited abilities. Her next foray was into the world of male nudes. She was frustrated by the objectification of women by the media and so chose to objectify men to point out the absurdity of objectifying anyone. Responses to that series
were quick to arise, intense, and fascinating. Next she chose to address the way the media portrays women more directly. She began painting life-size canvases of women of all sizes, shapes, ages, and races and to paint them in all their joy and glory and power. It is her hope that these images will replace those in the media and give women and men something different, more attainable and realistic, to reach for.




From Hurt to Harmony will include images from Singer’s Twelve Naked Men series as well as many of her most recent female nudes. They, along with Lee Matney’s collection of portraits, photographs, and multi-media pieces chronicle the journeys of these two multi-talented, intensely thoughtful artists as they work through their personal and societal hurts and reach towards a place of greater consciousness and harmony.

While knowing the psychological underpinnings of these works is helpful in creating a broader context for them, it isn't necessary for enjoying them. Each image stands alone as a powerful beacon of aesthetic beauty and provocation, powerful for the personhood portrayed in each. This show will give the viewer
a chance to explore the artists' psyches, to observe their unique journeys, then to delve into their own perceptions and feelings and judgments about the human form. Opening Reception is Sun, Feb 12 from 2-5 PM at the Linda Matney Gallery at 5435 Richmond Rd, Suite A, Williamsburg, VA 23188. The show will be on display through March 14. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10am-12pm, 2pm- 5pm. Special viewing appointments are available.
For more information about the gallery or Lee Matney’s work, please contact him per email at lmgfineart@gmail.com. For more information about Susan Singer's art, please contact her per e-mail at SusanSingerArt@msn.com