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United States 1981

When creating this body of work, I was thinking about hobo signs and symbols- subtle visual codes of communicating to provide directions, information and warnings to other parties in an alliance. I believe that this fascination gained speed for me during my teens and early twenties when I worked menial retail jobs. During this time, I would find ways to subtly alter the heavily curated environment as an amusement- in ways that could be imperceivable to an outsider, but would be glaringly obvious for those trained in visual merchandising in a detail oriented retail environment. Every clique has their own subtle ways of communicating.
These sculptures use an assemblage of materials to speak in code, to communicate, to scream signals of distress, boredom, ambivalence, humility, and mockery. Many of the works depict some version of pratfall and/or degrading scenarios within the artwork- many of the pieces are dirty, “pathetic”, include fabricated garbage and/or “mistakes”. Using plaster, wood and acid free colored paper I construct hand-made facsimiles of common, commercially available objects and arrange them into darkly humorous, sexually charged, dreamlike totems and tableaux. Perverting the motif of the readymade, these pieces have been fabricated using a limited palette of commercially manufactured colored paper and household construction materials. I am particularly interested in leading the viewer subtly into the surreal via the minutiae of missing information- errors in the hard lines of branding logos, slightly distorted measurements, jarring coloration; these items present shadow selves of the world we know. The implied narrative is compiled using the viewers’ personal history, the objects’ commercial legacy and the specific arrangement/juxtaposition of the objects within the sculpture itself. I envision the subtly surreal, aesthetically arranged pieces to be dis-used props, set dressings- stills from an imagined film- a disrupted version of the everyday. The visual cues come from a mash-up of source material, from art history to pop culture; my focus is evenly split between the aesthetics of construction and the implied narrative of the pieces.

Michelle Matson at
OPEN STUDIOS November 2013
SOS 2013 // Showcase Project
OPEN STUDIOS September 2013

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Michelle Matson - Michelle Matson -