Busts and Paintings by Matthew Harris
Opening Reception: July 30th, 2016 7-10 pm
Exhibition: July 30th, 2016 - August 27th, 2016
"Though the term “selfies” is new to our lexicon, the idea of presenting the best image of ourselves originated with the Greeks in the High Classical Period, where depictions of men became formulaic in their perfection.
"But those statues did not represent reality, just as much as photoshopping can hide reality from today’s portraits. As time wore on certain sculptors and artists, like Giovanni Bernini and Francis Bacon dared to portray a more genuine subject which expressed emotion and movement and—heaven forbid!—even flaws.
"Ultimately these sculptures allow us the opportunity to question what we value—if the idealization of ourselves is the best course to take, or if accepting and accentuating flaws can be beautiful and, more importantly, useful. Harris remarks that his journey to creating this body of work came from the question, “where do I find the most value in life?” and the answer—deep relationships with other humans—led him to question the authenticity of human expression. He noticed that social crowds have certain indicators of status, “common denominators being power and wealth and looks, and those always seem to trump humility or wisdom or generosity,” indicators that blur or cover–up flaws by substituting a genuine emotion with something empty, like money.
"These grotesque selfie sculptures grant us a moment to reflect on the very act of human portraiture. Not only is Harris paying homage to his influences—Bernini and Bacon—he is diving into the philosophical realm by exploring the reason we want to represent ourselves, pointing out that “as humans we seek attention, and I think that is part of our weakness.”" -Cori Anderson 303 Magazine
My recent series of “Baroque Selfies” questions the ways in which an individual gains social status. Wealth, physical appearance, and charming personality too often trump wisdom, compassion, and humility. Failure to gain the attention and approval we crave feeds our insecurities and drives us to try even harder. With the elaboration of social media, we are bombarded with even more opportunities to curate our public lives. These works serve both as generalized portraits of human vulnerability and as self portraits that question my own susceptibility to self-centered perspectives.
Matthew Harris received his MFA at the University of Colorado Boulder (2011) and is currently the Head of 3D Fine Arts at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver, CO. In 2013 he received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant and was a resident artist at Demiurge Design. He recently exhibited a sculpture at the Denver International Airport and in previous years, has been shot at with a musket in Mexico, pushed off a cobblestone wall by a horse in Spain’s Sierra Nevada, and survived an earthquake in Peru.
Learn more about Matthew Harris: http://www.matthewharris.net/