A recent University of Hartford MFA graduate, Matthew Genitempo lives and works in Marfa, a small desert city in west texas also known for its very active artistic life. The project presented here took Matthew to another small town named 'Jasper', this time nestled in the Ozark mountains of northern Arkansas, about an hour south of the Missouri border. Matthew spent time there between 2015 and 2017 during his MFA studies. The resulting homonymus series 'Jasper' takes the viewer on an escape from everyday life by following that of a few men living there by choice.
Matthew's deeply evocative, yet highly detailed black-and-white images conjure up a different sense of time and being, inseparable it seems from the formidable geological presence of the old mountains. The shining stillness and quiet beauty emanating from Matthew's portraits and landscapes work in worthwhile contrast to the slightly deranged, hyperstate of constant frenziness required today, reminding us of how simpler and truer everything can and perhaps should be.
Looking at Matt's work 'documentary poetics' comes to mind: people and places reveal themselves with a joyous nudity, suspended in time, wholly present. Matt seems to photograph a reality filled with both existential plenitude and accepted nostalgia, a present of the past stepped out of time in glimmering shadows, a philosophical chiaroscuro. His ascetic photography both enchants and clouds our certitude. What if this could really be something else? Another choice, another life? What if we were the ones having stepped out long ago?