Matthew Offenbacher:
May 12 - June 16, 2019

A few years ago, I painted a bunch of pictures based on the ancient Greek romance novel Daphnis and Chloe. The main characters are an incredibly naive shepherd and goatherd who love and live happily ever after in a pastoral fantasy. I wanted to retreat into this world. I was trying to paint shamelessly—with disregard for results or responsibilities, with a self-granted permission to just enjoy the sensations of painting.
    For me, painting and shame are tightly bound together. The shame is manyfold: the shame of uselessness and unproductivity, of private pleasure, of selling, of not selling, of unearned privilege, colonial histories, objectification and naiveté, of wanting to be a genius. Trying to suspend shame wasn’t a strategic move—it was more like a desperate act to see if there was anything salvageable in painting for me.
    The experiment worked and didn’t work. I am proud of these paintings and also ashamed of them. What I understand better now is that this double feeling comes from facing up to the special blend of resentment and sentiment that results from having power that is taken for granted, and then losing some of that power (both by giving it away and having it taken).
    During my residency, I will host a training for anyone interested in learning basic bystander intervention techniques to use when you see someone being harassed. I will also work on a dance performance, a work in progress, that uses these paintings as both score and scenery, to think about the link between ancient Greek iconography and supremacist ideologies, the strangeness of whiteness and maleness, to the accompaniment of classic rock.

Open Studio 

Every Tuesday, 2-6 pm
Saturday, May 25, noon-4 pm
Saturday, June 8, 6-9pm
(for Georgetown Art Attack)
Other times by appointment


Saturday, June 8, 3-5 pm

Saturday, June 15
Drop by anytime between 3-5 pm