Works by Kat Cope, Henry Daniel Gatlin, Mary Hurwitz, and Christian Kozaki
March 7 – April 10, 2013
Art making is inherently a material process. One could debate the finer points of this statement, but ultimately, art is a process of physical transformation.
Sometimes these processes are a means to an end, and, as such, do not necessarily impact the meaning or content of the work in an overt way. More often though, the materials directly inform the work; the meaning of the work is bound to its materiality. The content cannot exist without the physicality of the medium used to create it.
The familiar art making processes, such as sculpture, painting, and drawing have endured for hundreds of years. Most art school programs still require at least one year devoted to the study and manipulation of traditional art media such as graphite, paint, paper, and clay.
Even though many contemporary artists work with traditional media it is no longer possible to define in absolute terms about how art objects should be made. And contemporary art making has expanded to include a multitude of expressions, and, with that, an unlimited palette of materials to work with.
The artists of Material Matters work with a variety of things – upholstery fabrics, found objects, computer assisted design, recycled household items, and even detritus. And in each instance, the materials help to inform the work and each artist has written about the ways in which they weave those connections together. Those connections are personal, intuitive, and revealing.
Loss is intrinsically linked to memory, memories that occurred before the loss transpired. An event or moment occurs and then almost instantly it passes and becomes a memory. Our lives are built from memories, some of which are very tangible and real while others are foggy, the details being virtual creations of the mind's constant replaying. Memory cannot be trusted, but it is all we have in the event of an absence. Absence, longing, and loneliness are all feelings that occur when there is a loss. My interest in these concepts is drawn from my personal experience with loss, but my void also relates to larger cultural voids. Concepts of memory and absence are universal themes of existence that extend across cultural boundaries.
The type of absence created by a loss does not manifest simply as an empty hole, but a tremendously active void. The void is both a calm and an active space characterized by the quiet ache of absence and a visceral sense of longing. It is this active void that I am interested in exploring through my work by continuing to research its connection to larger cultural voids left by loss.
Henry Daniel Gatlin
As the son of an upholsterer, my earliest aesthetic influence originates in my father's upholstery shop. Through upholstery processes and materials, I reconnect with my childhood memories and emotional issues associated with my relationship with my father. At the same time, I find allusions to issues and themes that are universal in their implications. I intend for viewers to have an aesthetic and visceral experience that connects them to their own history through stimulation of memory and emotion.
Having completed my MFA at UMass Dartmouth in May of 2012, I am focusing on a new body of work and on showing work where I can. I am proud and honored to be showing with the artists of the Material Matters show.
My recent work utilizes the integration of printmaking, photography, fibers, and CAD (Computer Assisted Design). By layering the four mediums in various ways a hybrid is produced. This hybrid enables me to simultaneously reveal and depict, hide and conceal. The process and the work serve as metaphors and analogies for censorship. My focus is on our shared cultural context: that which is forbidden, and that which is desired. The canvases are dialogs representing love and sexuality and they describe my personal dreams, experiences, and relationships. In my work I seek to demonstrate alternative options to dealing with archaic and outmoded stereotypes in order to push through and past barriers built by organized religion, ignorance, and intolerance.
Making unique art constructions out of commonplace materials or objects is very satisfying to me. Every object has something to say and depending on how it is presented, that meaning can change and that can be very exciting and surprising. I prefer not to limit myself to any one medium or material since I am continually stimulated by my environment and the society I live in.
My work ranges from assemblage to garment-making, sculpture to installation, and video performance. My tendency to create only one or two pieces using the same materials is indicative of my unpredictable and impatient nature.
Much of my work has been inspired by contemporary political and social events including terrorism and war, as well as the battle between the sexes and both the repression and triumphs of women and their daily work. In the latter category I include the accumulation of stuff over time such as dryer lint, junk mail, Coke cans, money or pairs of shoes. Much of the material I work with is already a part of my life, such as the roots I've pulled out of the ground from gardening or the leftover lint from doing laundry. Often, the cyclic, day-to-day, ordinary life experience is a rich and artistic place for me to tap into.
My goal is to continue creating a unique body of art work that encourages the viewer to look a little closer at the world in new and different ways while allowing my spirit to be unafraid to "speak up" and express itself.
To that end, the works made can be appreciated both for their content or subject matter and how well the materials have been manipulated.
Kat Cope holds an MFA in printmaking from the UMASS Dartmouth and a BFA in fine art from Mount Holyoke College. Recent exhibitions include Palette Pictures, Fall River Historical Society, Fall River, MA; TAIP, Artworks!, New Bedford, MA; Material Divergence, Cherry and Webb Gallery, Fall River, MA; and Under The Influence: Juried Exhibition, The Footlight Club, Jamaica Plain, MA.
Henry Daniel Gatlin has an MFA in sculpture from UMASS Dartmouth and received a BA in studio art from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas. Recent exhibitions include Umass Dartmouth MFA Thesis Show, Selected Works, Bromfield Gallery, Boston, MA; 3rd All Media Juried Exhibition, Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery, Fall River, MA; The Figure Interpreted, The Narrows, Fall River, MA. Recent work experience includes, Professor of Record, 3D Concepts, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, MA; Guest Lecturer, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock Arkansas.
Mary Hurwitz received her BFA in Graphic Design from Syracuse University and has an MA in Art Education from Umass Dartmouth. Currently teaches Visual Art in the Taunton Public School District. Recent exhibitions include Annual Members Show, Attleboro Arts Museum, Attleboro, MA; Biennial Members National Juried Show, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA; 3rd All Media Juried Exhibition, Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery, Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA; and at the Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI.
Christian Kozaki holds a BFA in Design and Illustration from The Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. He recently completed his MFA at Umass Dartmouth. He has designed and illustrated for Fashion Houses such as Givenchy, Madame Gres, and Chloe. He has also designed under his own label and his work has appeared in publications such as Time Magazine. Recent exhibitions include The Bartholomew Gallery, Chatham, MA; The Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM), Provincetown, MA; Lyman Eyer Gallery, Provincetown, MA; ArtWorks!, New Bedford, MA; Judith Klein Gallery, New Bedford, MA; and in auctions for the Human Rights Campaign.