Tales from the Underground
Photography by Matt Artz
January 12th to February 26th, 2006
Sat., Jan. 14th, 6 to 9 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 11th, 6 to 9 p.m.

Contemporary Fine Art
In the Arts Colony, 300 S. Thomas St. (basement), Pomona, CA 91766
Web site:
Gallery hours: Thursday-Sunday 12-4 pm

Matt Artz, “Tales from the Underground #1”, 2005, photography, 11 x 14 inches.

The bare concrete floors of the basement rooms in the old Progress Building in downtown Pomona, California are a canvas upon which the accidents of history have painted a complex masterpiece.  Part historical record, part abstract art, the many years of stains, scrapes, spills, scuffs, and other unintentional actions have combined to produce a rich tapestry recording the history of occupancy.  Thousands of people visit the underground galleries in the basement of the Progress Building every year to look at the art displayed on the walls, oblivious to the other masterpieces that are part of the building itself.  

There truly is a story behind every one of these stains and scrapes.  The stories themselves may be lost forever, but the stains remain as a sort of abstract documentation of the various activities that have taken place and left their marks on the floors, walls, and ceilings.  

Spending many hours alone in a damp basement can make a person do strange things.  Starting in late 2004 I found myself in just such a situation.  I began a series of black-and-white photographs documenting the interesting forms and textures found on the interior surfaces of the Progress Building.  While the results were intriguing, it was not until I switched to color a few months into the project that the images began to really come alive.  The result was a large body of work called “Tales from the Underground.”  Forty photographs from the “Tales from the Underground” series will be on display at Gallery 57 Underground in the basement of the Progress Building from January 12th to February 26th, 2006.

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