New work up in KC

I currently have some new work in a couple exhibitions in KC. Both shows are having a closing reception this Friday, May 18th. Hope you can make it!

Congrats 
911 Artist Studios
Closing reception: Fri, May 18th 6-10PM
911 Wyoming (in the West Bottoms near the Hobbs building)
Kansas City, MO 64101
*I have four smaller works in this show in addition to the sculptures below.

Beentheredonethat (left) & Finefornow (right)

The Frontier 
The Paragraph Gallery
Closing reception: Fri, May 18th 6-10PM
23 East 12th St
Kansas City, MO 64106
*I have this sculpture with an audio component in the first part of The Frontier, and I’m planning a Tic Tac installation for the second part next month. Stay tuned for more…

I Want It All, Boombox, power strips, 15 second loop of Queen’s “I Want It All”

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Back in the USA

After another long travel session I’ve finally made it back to the USA. Actually, I’ve been back for about two weeks, so I feel fully acclimated now. To be honest, it feels good to be back. You know that saying: you never realize how good something is until it’s gone, well lets just say I’m try to appreciate all the good things now that I’m in KC again.

The good news is that KC is showing some love right back! This is shaping up to be a big year for me. I’ll be in the following shows:

Chop Chop – Two person show (featuring work from Iceland) with Lee Piechocki at Wonderfair Gallery in Lawrence, KS. February 24 – March 25. Opening Reception: (Final) Friday, February 24. 6-10 pm

Bemis Center Regional Juried Exhibition- Group show at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, NE. March 2- April 7. Opening Reception: Friday, March 2 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Playtime- Two person show with friend and studio-mate David Rhoads at City Art Project in Kansas City, MO. May-June. Opening Friday May 4th.

I’ve also been selected to do a project with Field Trip Publishing, and there’s a few other things that I’m still waiting to hear back on. Stay tuned for more!

Sorry for the shameless self promotion. This post was supposed to be about the show from the end of my residency in Iceland. I had an exhibition at Skaftfell’s Bookshop/Project space and documented the work later in their gallery (for obvious presentation reasons). Hope you enjoy the images.

This will be my last post about my residency in Iceland. Thanks to those of you for your comments and interest in my work/blog/life. I hope you’ll consider checking back in to see what I’m up to.

~Matt

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Reykjavik

Hallgrímskirkja. The church at the center of town. Also the site of manic firework displays on New Years Eve.

When it comes down to it, I consider myself a pretty lucky guy. In this instance, I’m referring to the New Years holiday I was able to spend with my parents and boyfriend in Reykjavik. After spending most of my 4 weeks in this country by myself, it was a great comfort to see familiar faces again. We had a fantastic time in this small capital city. Taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon, strolling around the multicolored buildings, eating exotic local fare (including whale and puffin) this trip was a much needed break from the isolation of my studio.

Reykjavik from the top of the Church.

Across the bay. Check out that awesome green house at the bottom!

The view looking down from the top of the Church.

Rekjavik is a strange little city. Welcoming in scale, although the suburban sprawl around is massive, the city center is easy to navigate- even with seven syllable street names. The city also has a strange sense of being familiar. Bits of Scandanvian design and minimal interiors, multicolor houses like those that line the canals of Amerstdam, and bar/cafes on every corner not unlike little towns in Ireland. In the end it’s the people and way of life in this place that make Reykjavik a unique destination. I would highly recommend going to the top of the church if you find yourself in this corner of the world. It’s an inexpensive and beautiful way to get your bearings.

Some of the stunning views one gets walking around Reykjavik.

Yes, it’s probably the most touristy thing you can do in Iceland, but suck it up and go take a dip in the Blue Lagoon. It’s a massive outdoor geothermal hot spring about 45 min from Reykjavik. Just keep your fingers crossed for good weather. We went in near-blizzard conditions and I can say that my body has never been as confused as it was on that day. My face covered in silica sand, frost in my wet hair, ears frozen, and the everything below my neck a cosy 38 °C (100.4 °F). Totally worth it.

Crappy indoor photo of the Blue Lagoon because there was a BLIZZARD happening outside. Note the lack of bathers...

These guys were troopers.

I even got to see the sun for a third time since I’ve been here!

THE SUN

So for now I’m back in Seydisfjordur finishing up work for my show this weekend. Here’s a little preview of some of the work.

Conundrum, Paper, clothes pins, and acrylic.

A floor piece still in the works, with some wall pieces.

I’ve got less than a week here, then back to Reykjavik for a few days and finally back to the good ol’ US of A. Thanks for reading!

Seydisfjordur from the edge of town.

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Paperwork

T-minus one week until my show! More images and updates to follow, including a wonderful New Years with family in Reykjavik. But for now I’ve got some art to make!

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Teenage girls, face-houses, and a seal to boot…

A frozen waterfall at the edge of town.

Beautiful Seydisfjordur, that funky metal sculpture is an outline of the fjord set upright.

Sorry it’s taken me a while to post again. My internet access here is delicate and I went through a bit of a crisis where I thought I lost it altogether. I hate to be so dependent on the internet, but since it’s my only connection to the outside world (and thus my sanity), maybe you can understand my panic. Anyway, I’m back up and running now.

For a sleepy little town during the holidays, this was actually an eventful week. I taught a workshop to local school kids. We looked at some of my work and artists I’m interested in who were using everyday objects in clever and meaningful ways. B. Wurtz, Michael Johansson, Tony Feher, and of course Erwin Wurm’s ‘One Minute Sculptures.’ Then, using a bunch of stuff from the supply closet, I set them loose to make some sculptures. They were a little reluctant at first, but they got the hang of it. At the end of class I told them we had to find a way to put all of our bodies into the piece somehow. What followed was not unlike decorating a christmas tree…

Rachel Harrison eat your heart out!

Perfect artist pose.

Sculptures don't smile guys. No smiling

Aside from that class I’ve been working in studio quite a bit too. It’s funny how I came here intending to make a bunch of drawings but all I want to do is make the paper stand up. I’m still making drawings, but it’s these small sculptures that I’m most excited about now. It’s hard to tell how dependent they are on this green floor. Keep in mind that most of these are works in progress.

Some paper sculptures in the works

This one is just about finished. Working title is "Belly Flop"

Other highlights from the week: I FINALLY saw the northern lights! I didn’t manage to snap a picture, but I’m sure you’ve all seen enough pictures of them anyway. I was amazed at how quickly they moved. It looked like someone was on the other side of the mountain with a colored spotlight waving it around. Oh, there was also a concert this past weekend. The front man for Mugison, an Icelandic band (duh?), played a solo set. He was a great guitar player with an impressive voice. I’m sure he was funny too, but it’s hard to say for sure…he was speaking Icelandic the whole time, but the crowd was cracking up. Have you ever missed a punch line because you literally don’t speak the same language?

Some of the houses have faces

More face houses. This one is winking.

When it’s sunny here you really have to take advantage of it. So, even if the wind is strong it’s worth bundling up to go for a walk. On one such walk I spotted this Harbor Seal in-yep you guessed it- the harbor. At least I’m pretty sure it was a Harbor Seal, all you sub-artic marine biologists can correct me if I’m wrong.

Ooooooh, so that's why they call them 'Harbor Seals'

Chillin

Chillin

Iridescent clouds. I'm not sure why or how?

Well I guess that’s about it for now, you guys asked for more pictures so here you go. I’m off to Reykjavik just after Christmas so I’ll post some photos when I’m back. Thanks for tuning in, and Happy Christmas everyone!

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A little house in the middle of nowhere.

View from the bay with the ferry that comes once a week from Denmark.

So it’s been over a week since I fell out of many planes and landed on the edge of an island in the middle of the Atlantic. That makes it sound a bit more dramatic, but sometimes that’s how it feels here. The basics:

Sun. Yes, it’s here, though I’ve only seen it directly once. It rises around 9 AM and it’s dark by 4PM. That definately takes some getting used to, but I’m working on it.

Weather. Cold, windy, constantly precipitating. These two photos below were taken about 10 min apart. You can see how quickly it changes.

From my backyard

About 10 min later.

When I first arrived it was in the teens and snowy. About 13 inches of snow fell in two days. Then more snow, and now it’s finally warmed up to 35! So of course all the snow has melted and the roads are nothing but slush paths. It’s amazing how well they drive it in.

Food. The way this residency is set up, I’m living alone in this house, so most the time I cook for myself. This means no sheeps heads, putrified shark meet, or pickled cod…yet.

Northern lights. Except for a brief glimpse on my way in, I haven’t fully experience these guys yet either. But I’m constantly looking.

Vampires, polar bears, elves, trolls. No, haven’t seen any of these guys yet either. Although Christmas is a big deal here (check out the pic of the tree in the bay), and I’ve spotted a couple Santa’s running around- in Iceland there’s not just one but 13 of them.

Town Christmas tree in the lagoon. Not sure how they got it there?

Overall, I’m feeling more settled than when I first arrived. Some furniture rearranging and putting art up on the walls, and it’s starting to feel like my space, not just someone else’s house that I’m renting. As for the house, it was formerly owned by this Icelandic conceptual artist, BIRGIR ANDRÉSSON. So I’m hoping for some good juju to rub off.

As for the people, honestly I haven’t met too many of them yet. This is a small town (pop. 800) and a smaller one in the winter (500). But from my limited experience so far I’ve found Icelanders to be friendly and helpful, but not outwardly so. It takes a minute for them to open up. But I’ve been amazed at how well most of them speak english fluently. As for my Icelandic? Well lets just say I’m working on that too.

About half of my cozy studio/living room.

Art making is chugging along too. It’s totally daunting having this much time to just focus on art. A little overwhelming actually. I started by making a lot of drawings at first and now I’m moving towards a couple sculptures. The problem so far is that there just isn’t much material here. So, I’ve been using mostly what I found in the house or what I brought with me (paper).

The other half, with some drawings.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

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Arrival in the Land of Ice

After 3 flights, 3 buses, 1 train and nearly 13 hours of layovers I’ve finally arrived at the Skaftfell Center for Visual Arts in Seydisfjordur, Iceland. It’s taken some time to recover from all that traveling, but I’m beginning to get settled. Here’s a couple quick photos I snapped along the way. Check back in for more news or you can sign up for email updates by clicking the ‘Follow’ button in the lower right corner.

Takk Fyrir!

Beautiful Seydisfjordur. Yes, I know it looks like Santa's Village.

Blurry shot of my little house/studio for the next two months. Formerly owned by artist Birgir Andresson.

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