Matthew Couper was born in New Zealand and is based in Las Vegas after immigrating to the USA in 2010. His practice over the past decade has appropriated aspects of western Art History including Trecento, Quattrocento and the Baroque. Through these painterly investigations, he discovered that history oft repeats and helped him determine that the Modernist notions of originality held little interest for his practice. Couper uses the established narrative traditions of Spanish Colonial retablos and ex-votos to discuss the space between myth, religion and art politics. He recently stated that ‘like any good Johnny Cash, Nick Cave or Pixies song, you’ve got to have sex, death and religion fueling the fire’ – ShareMag, Portugal, (Spring edition, 2011)
Couper graduated with a BFA from the Quay School for the Arts, Whanganui, New Zealand in 1998. In 2003, Couper was awarded a Royal Over-Seas League International Scholarship to work and travel in the UK. He returned in the following year to exhibit at Jerwood Gallery, London and to continue traveling in Europe. He held his first public gallery solo exhibition with published monograph, The Museum Of Inherent Vice at the Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui, after receiving a nine-month residency at the Tylee Cottage Artist in Residence programme in 2007. His exhibition ‘Thirty-Three’ (with gallery publication)is touring several New Zealand public art galleries and museums from 2012 to 2014.
He exhibits in the USA at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles; Zoya Tommy Gallery, Houston and Sacred Machine, Tucson; Spain at CMTV Galería, Barcelona; Light & Space Contemporary, Philippines; Australia at SmallWorks, Brisbane; New Zealand at PAULNACHE; Gisborne, Mark Hutchins Gallery, Wellington; PaperWorks, Napier and Rayner Brothers Gallery, Whanganui.
His works are represented in public collections throughout New Zealand (Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui, The Real Art Roadshow touring collection, the Celia Dunlop Foundation collection and James Wallace Collection, Auckland) and internationally (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Rome and Brisbane, Cirque du Soleil Resident Show Division, Montreal and Las Vegas) and in private collections in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Scotland, Britain, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Thailand and The Philippines.