Matta was my first teacher of abstractionism.

Matta was my first teacher of abstractionism. I vividly remember the moment when an abstract painting by Matta captured my imagination as a seven-year-old. I was flipping through an old textbook, and an image sucked me in like a whirlpool or wormhole of sorts, into the inner world of the artist. I had the strangest sensation: I felt as if I were experiencing the painting in my body instead of seeing it with my eyes (which perhaps explains why I do not remember details of the image or the name of the painting). It felt as if something had exploded from within. Waves crashed, light burst. I was shaken to the core and yet, I felt powerful beyond measure. Irradiating from my head, an energy was coursing through my veins, pulsating all the way to my fingertips. I stretched out my right hand, and in my mind’s eye I could see and even touch the elements of Matta’s world: futuristic cities, spheres, lines, cubes, and colors, all suspended by an energy radiating from the Big Bang. It felt as if Matta had just revealed to me the ultimate secret, that art is nothing other than light, energy, or waves embodied, which can then be transmitted to the viewer. I told myself that this is what true art is about, that this is what my art should be about: capturing light, receiving it, and embodying it through the poetics of visual language.