The next day I went back to give a gallery talk with Joyce and Mary, the curator. This was actually kind of fun, much better for talking about art than the few minutes you get with anyone at opening night. Joyce talked about her paintings and the imagery in them, it’s source, the cacophony of images which are the World, and the Mind. It made me think that what imagery is for painters, material is for sculptors. The myriad and endless supply of that thing from which we produce our work, the World. The materials I work from are found everywhere, cement, bronze, plastic, wood, iron, stone, steel, put to a purpose in the built world; but to give them a character and an expression which is their own, not an only utilitarian one, is art, is sculpture.
Every material brings it own nature that causes what I find to do with it. Wood is the only material that has been alive; it is a kind of flesh. Metal is unyielding, up to the point it is melted, and then it becomes suddenly pliable liquid. Stone was once liquid and is now crystal, harder than metal, it can only be chipped or ground, and by the simplest tools, hammer, sand, water. Plastic is like room-temperature metal, but can only be formed once, and never reformed again in a liquid, it becomes a soft stone. Clay is almost without an original identity, because it is all materials in one. It is a type of dirt, the earth. Everything else in distilled or mined or grown from it. It is primordial substance. Everything is clay. Clay is to sculpture what abstraction expression is for painting. A material able to express from out of the Mind whatever can be imagined… even the formless.
Wow Matthew! What a wonderful show. Your work really speaks to me. I love the natural timeless simplicity and yet there is real strength and humanity that comes across too. I also like the way you displayed your work–elemental groupings in contrast and synchronicity. Just great. Thanks.