Gordon Massman paints visceral expansive abstractions that pulsate with rawness. A poet as well as an artist, he was inspired by Abstract Expressionism, confessional poetry, and Beat Generation literature; all movements rooted in real-life experiences and characterized by spontaneous expression, candor, and immediacy. Having undergone years of Freudian psychoanalysis, Massman is well-accustomed to bringing the forbidden out in the world. His monumental canvases are no-holds-barred territories, extreme experimental grounds testing how far the human mind and hand can go, without the constraints of social morality. Every action–no matter how violent, aberrant, despicable, shameless, exuberant, joyful, rapturous, arbitrary–is absolved of its iniquity, finding a legitimate instrument in the purifying implementation of the brush.
Massman’s process is solely guided by instinct. It is a wholly emotional and physical endeavor of free-associative gestures, twirls, scratches, arm rotations, regurgitations, and sweat. “I paint like a Kodiak bear attacking fresh carrion,” he says. “I yell at the painting. I often talk to it, in a lewd and loud fashion. I curse at it. Occasionally, I throw a brush at it.” The painting is a living organism, one which holds the imprints of the artist’s memories, conversations, tragedies, mundane activities, and dreams. “The last frontier in art is the artist's psyche and how deeply and brutally honest he or she has traveled and understood,” he explains. “Without such knowledge no art in today's world can succeed. It's just pretty colors signifying nothing.”
Massman studied literature and creative writing at the University of Texas-Austin and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He taught writing and literature at The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts, and is the published author of five poetry volumes, having composed thousands of poems in a span of forty-five years. In 2013, his collected Poems, 0.174: The Complete Numbers Cycle, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. The deCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA, represents eight of his paintings as part of its Corporate Lending Program. Originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, he now lives in Rockport, Massachusetts, where he devotes himself entirely to painting.