Matthew Steele: “ONE” will open Monday, January 26 in Pease Gallery. Please join us for a reception with the artist on Thursday, February 5 from 5-7 p.m., and a lecture in Pease Auditorium on Wednesday, February 25 at 6:30 p.m.
Monuments were the first, and are still the most publicly accessible, form of art. With a visual vocabulary that stylistically echoes the commissioner’s culture and time, monuments will typically fall into one of three categories: nationalism, heroism, or tragedy. These celebratory undertones are what separate monuments from public art, which is usually integrated, interpretive, and representative of other ideas.
In this new body of work, Matthew Steele seeks to reclaim the monument from its location specific nationalism. With basic elements like wood and glass, Steele creates models for more universal monuments dedicated to the thing humanity has in common: emotion. Our feelings, our intuitive responses, are what connects us all, pervading the self-imposed separations we adhere to (culture, language, nation, histories, etc.). Fear, joy, futility, vulnerability, indecision, regret, relief; everyone knows those feelings. These monuments represent the human technologies of the self (emotions and responses to those emotions) through architectural vernacular and the aesthetic of function.