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1 Nov 2022


Glen Onoko Falls (2021), oil on stretched Belgian linen, 120 x 200 cm. Glen Onoko Falls was painted after a photograph the artist took while hiking with his partner, Annelies Deltour through the Lehigh Valley Gorge in Pennsylvania.

Artist from Philadelphia falls for the Westhoek

After an art career in Philadelphia, Matt Frock made the drastic choice to move his studio to Ypres. He established himself in our country as an online gallery owner and is now expanding. A search for a public workspace led to the Frock Gallery.

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Art touches us. When did a work of art first move you?

Matt Frock: "My earliest memories go back to the artwork in the house in New Jersey where I grew up. My mother was an interior designer and constantly decorated the houses our family lived in. I remember a cubist knight on a horse and super twinkly wallpaper with green and gold patterns. The house in Philadelphia we moved to when I was five would become her magnum opus and my first introduction to contemporary art.'

What work of art would you give your life for?

Matt Frock: 'In 1995 I studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, an institution that greatly expanded my knowledge of contemporary art and art history. I was fortunate that year to travel to New York City by bus. The bus stop was in front of the MET, where a retrospective of Howard Hodgkin was running. On the way back, I passed the entrance to the exhibit. I walked through it to catch the bus. And halfway through, I stopped. The painting Writing jumped off the wall and opened up into an immense space. It was one of the most beautiful optical illusions I had ever seen. I returned to the beginning of the exhibition and let all the works open before my eyes and their alternate worlds revealed themselves. I was late getting back to the bus, but it was worth it. I have never forgotten that experience and only now, 27 years later, do I feel I understand Hodgkin's work sufficiently.'

What art do you specialize in, and why?

Matt Frock: 'I create paintings inspired by nature and the artwork of people I admire. I love modernism, because there's so much progress and progressiveness there. But I also have a healthy fondness for traditional Japanese nihonga and Chinese painting.'

What project is central to you at the moment?

Matt Frock: 'Developing Frock Gallery and Art Shop as a contemporary art space that showcases the work of living artists as it unfolds in the studio is currently our priority. Our mission is to bring art to a wider audience in Ypres and beyond and this has proven to be a worthy but necessary challenge.'