Artist Statement

Updated July, 2015

I grew up playing in the woods around the barrier islands and salt marshes of Savannah, Georgia. This is where I came to embrace the beauty and imperfection of the natural world, particularly the large live oaks that are some of the Low Country’s greatest attributes. The evidence of tension in these trees, shaped by environmental forces over time, provides much of the inspiration for my artwork. The texture and form communicate a history of the objects. Like a smooth stone that has worked its way down a river over many years or the gnarled and twisted branches that have struggled to seek light over decades, the beauty in these objects beckons to be observed more closely.

I am a collector. I seek unique forms like weathered branches, rocks from around the world, decaying bones, old tools, instruments, and random metal parts. Many of the manufactured objects tend to be more precise, rigid and often lifeless, while the naturally occurring objects tend to show growth and transformation over time. By marrying the natural forms with the manufactured forms, I intend to highlight the contrasting aesthetic qualities of both. With special attention to contour, I attempt to unify the various components into a single cohesive form by creating connections that are seamless and undetectable. Breaking free of static compositions, I favor dynamic or kinetic arrangements in order to breathe new life into old objects. Ultimately, the impetus of this series of found object sculptures is not to recreate nature or industry, but use the actual objects to showcase the similarities and fine details of their form.

My interest in the transformation of materials has inspired a series of performance events that highlight the moment when a work of art is created. Focusing on the process of casting iron, my performances serve not only as a means to create objects but to connect the resulting objects to the actions that manifested them. In an effort to bring a sculpture’s inception to light, the act (or ritual) celebrates the process of creating artworks in the presence of an audience. In these performances the structures used to melt, pour, and receive molten iron function as artworks that create other works of art; utilizing fire as a means of transformation, simultaneously employing it as a method of destruction and an instrument of creation. Most often the event is a tribute to the rite of creative expression, focusing on the power of a collective experience rather than that of an individual artist acting alone to create.

© 2017 Matt Toole | Site by NetTemple