Following a period working in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s conservation department, I moved across the road to the Science Museum where I was given access to their stores. It was here where the roots of my work began.
Disparate objects placed next to each other by size and material gave rise to surprising and discordant marriages. My practice lives in these cross-over places, the in between, the fissures between groups, the other. Clay gives me the permanence to fix these coincidences together for ever.
Using craft, with its connotations of amateur, accessibility and gender and exploiting its lowly status in the art world, I aim to unsettle the organisations and spaces which tell us ‘truths’: museums, galleries, stately homes and white cube spaces.
The works are a mass of forms that fuse together, creating tableaux that are at the same time both exquisite and amusing: ladies legs rising out of birds and kitsch gold lapelled gents sporting trophy animal heads. Once they are all glazed up, it is hard to notice where one form starts and others finish.
Just as museum exhibitions bring together objects to tell stories, these pieces bring together disparate characters to tell both oblique and overt tales. The pieces both celebrate the mainstream and also unsettle it, taking objects from their intended role and repurposing them in new situations.
‘Subtly transforming the language of the everyday and the decorative, Matt's work seeks to reinvent the conventions of traditional domesticity, the home, family and normative sexualities from within. Ingeniously producing objects that are both reassuringly familiar and strangely new, vibrant and multifaceted, Matt's works are, in the end, irreverent reinterpretations of the ideas of kitsch - clichés that are first emptied, then filled again with ever more loaded meaning.’
Oliver Winchester, Curator, Victoria and Albert Museum
The work celebrates those moments when we find ourselves outside the mainstream, when we no longer need to bend to the rules as we are already outside them. Where there is a joy to the confusion and a celebration of the unexpected.
Qualifications and training
- 2010 PhD in Queer Craft, University of Brighton, Brighton
- 2005 BA Hons Ceramics, University of Westminster (Harrow), London
- 1996 Museum Studies, Leicester University, Leicester
- 2009 Co-Director, Unravelled, Brighton
- 2008 Freelance Curator, Hove Museum and Art Gallery, Brighton and Hove
- 2012 Other Stories, The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds
- 2010 Queering the Museum, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham
- 2010 Milk, aspex Gallery, Portsmouth
- 2013 Subversive Design, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Brighton
- 2013 Unravelling The Vyne, The Vyne, National Trust, Basingstoke
- 2010 Unravelling the Manor House, Preston Manor, Brighton
- 2010 Renegade Potters, Ink_d Gallery, Brighton
Competitions, prizes and awards
- 2009 Arc Award, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth
- 2009 Grant to Found Unravelled, Arts Council, South East
- 2008 Grant to work with Stephen Dixon, Arts Council, South East