Matthew Harris is an artist based out of Denver, CO, who works with acrylics, and is known for his ceramic sculptures and busts. He earned his MFA in Ceramics at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2011 and his BFA in Ceramics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. Currently, Harris is the head of the 3D Fine Arts at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. He works in a Baroque style, which is evident in his show: Baroque Selfies.
Harris is interested in social construct and how we gain social status—whether it be through wealth or looks. Because social media is such a large part of modern day society, Harris decided to explore social media and the technological era of ‘selfies’. An important aspect that Harris accomplishes with his artwork is the idea that humanity does not change—even though our surroundings do. He claims that “[the viewers] become more aware of the disfigurations of the figure representing the individuals’ insecurities and vanities. There is meant to be an unsettling experience of enjoying the superficial beauty but also feeling disturbed by the unmasked and unflattering aspects of humanity.
Harris’s grotesque and chaotic busts play with the idea that when taking selfies, we try and hide aspects of our figure and face that we are ashamed of by changing the angle to create a better perspective—or by not even showing the whole face. Harris’s sculptures take time to perfect in order to achieve his vision for each piece. When presenting his busts, he displays them on a pedestal so he could draw the viewer’s attention to the importance each piece must have. He also displays these busts against abstract backgrounds to evoke emotion or a specific mood.
Most recently, Harris’s work still focuses on the grotesque in his sculpture busts. The main difference between these and the Baroque Selfies is that these sculptures are placed upon pedestals juxtaposed with the décor and furnishings of an older Victorian house. By displaying these sculptures in this setting, Harris questions the viewer’s associations with pedestals, historical busts, and location.
The exhibit Collectivity will investigate points of connection between artists from two internationally significant artist collectives based out of the Western United States – Hyperlink (Colorado) and Durden & Ray (Los Angeles) in two concurrent exhibits across two states.