Palmerston North artist creating oil paintings for modern times

Matthew Steedman's Screen Time is a collection of pixelated oil paintings that seek to explore human identity and connection.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Matthew Steedman’s Screen Time is a collection of pixelated oil paintings that seek to explore human identity and connection.

A local painter has turned his brush to the connection between our physical and online lives, and people will get their first glimpse this week.

screen time, by artist Matthew Steedman of Palmerston North, is a collection of pixelated oil paintings that seek to explore human identity and connection.

The paintings will be exhibited at the Square Edge Arts Center from November 11-28.

Steedman said her work has been influenced by the sudden changes in our lives as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Her favorite painting from the collection, a burger, is titled Level Three and celebrates falling alert levels and our obsession with takeout.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Her favorite painting from the collection, a burger, is titled Level Three and celebrates falling alert levels and our obsession with takeout.

“I consider how much time we spend on devices now, how much of our interactions are, I guess, obscured or concealed by masks in the real world.”

Steedman said the exhibit included 15 paintings, a mix of pixelated images and QR codes, all but one of which would be on sale.

He had been working on the exhibit for about 10 months and each painting took between 30 and 80 hours to complete.

He used images from the internet as well as his own photos, pixelated them via Photoshop, then painted each square by hand.

He didn’t use masking tape to achieve perfect squares, but rather embraced the imperfection of his work, although he was quite sharp with a brush despite the lack of masking tape.

Steedman has been working on the show for about 10 months, with each painting taking between 30 and 80 hours.

WARWICK SMITH / Stuff

Steedman has been working on the show for about 10 months, with each painting taking between 30 and 80 hours.

Steedman said he had to choose images with enough detail to translate well into a pixelated form.

It was his first solo exhibition, but he felt calmer now, after his nerves peaked a few months ago.

“It’s very different, I think, to create a body of work in your studio away from the world and it feels like the private is about to become public.”

In July, he won the Arts Manawatū painting competition for his pixelated work of a woman taking a selfie, Insta selfie.

His favorite painting from the collection, a hamburger, was titled Level Three. It was a celebration of lower alert levels and our obsession with takeout.

screen time was supported by Palmerston North City Council’s Creative Communities program.

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