Matt Barton received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts form Montana State University and a Master’s in Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University. His work has been exhibited at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY; the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh; the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; the Museum of Contemporary Art – Denver; the Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe; and the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh. Matt is presently the co-director of Visual Art at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. His artistic practice explores a wide range of themes and media, often incorporating sculpture, video, and audio within interactive art installations. Recent work merges sculpture, architecture, and landscape design.
By straddling many disciplinary thresholds, my creative work explores the possibilities available through new digital media and audience participation by expanding notions of sculpture into immersive installations. While tailoring to a first-hand multi-sensory experience, I am concerned with engaging the viewer in multi-media environments in which the astonishment of spectacle gives way to deeper existential questions of the nature of reality by blurring boundaries between dream, fantasy, and reality, and confusing the distinctions between sacred and secular, kitsch and spiritual, while exploring the importance of humor and play. Brightly colored jovial surfaces serve as entry points to contemplate more difficult inquiries into the nature of time, idyllic notions of the afterlife, and the harmonic balance of the beautiful and the disturbing. Simple analogue mechanical components are intertwined with digital video projected and embedded on flat screens, creating a dialogue between old and new technologies and evoking sensations of the uncanny and/or sublime.
Interview by GOCA Fall 2018 Intern Hannah Shelton
Hannah Shelton: Have you participated in previous faculty exhibitions at UCCS, if so, how many?
Matt Barton: I’ve been in 3 faculty shows previously.
HS: Why do you think it is important to hold a faculty exhibition? What type of impact to you believe it has on campus?
MB: The show connects the faculty to the students and community beyond what we do in the classroom, showcasing what we do in our studios. It was important to me as a student to see my professors’ work as examples of artists at that point in their careers (professional studio practice).
HS: The theme for this exhibition is time. How do you see this theme connecting to your work?
MB: The theme of time is relevant to every aspect of our world. We have very time sensitive climate issues and ever-evolving cultural moments (while some things seem to always stay the same). From being connected to the changing seasons to political moments to climate change to our own personal aging and our fate with death, time is the essence of life itself.
HS: As an artist, what advice have you received that has proved to have a large impact on you or your work?
MB: I’m not sure any isolated advice played an important role, rather examples of how artists work, what they make work about, and how they straddle making relevant work that is open and retains ambiguity. Joesph Campbell’s, “Follow your bliss” or Nina Simone on the importance of artists being activists come to mind, but I don’t see the shaping my practice overtly. The most honest advice I’ve heard is making art is a lot of work and sacrifice and you have to really want to do this, without expectations of monetary reward.
See the work of Matt Barton and his fellow UCCS VAPA Faculty at TIME at GOCA Ent Center for the Arts (5225 N Nevada Ave) starting January 31st and running through May 12th.
Matt Barton will give a free artist talk on February 21st along with exhibition artists Jeremy Click, Corey Drieth, Nick Henning, and Claire Rau. Register HERE.