When the peaks of our sky come together
My house will have a roof
Paul Éluard (translated from French)
Architecture houses our psyches as much as it does our bodies and possessions. Nate Mathews and Ashley Morgan possess architecture to translate observed affects, displacing and isolating elements of institutional and domestic spaces with formal grace and slight gesture. Morgan’s work can isolate and make spare the warm and familiar building material found in the home while Mathews can imbue empty brutalist spaces with warmth and intrigue.
Nate Mathews’ work revolves around examining how people experience architecture, how different design and building materials can change how one exists in a space and the way in which people respond to their environment and alter it to make it more inviting. His photographic images peer into institutional environments of anonymous universities that are built out of concrete and other utilitarian materials. Mathews pinpoints artificial features that have been constructed within these environments in an attempt to mitigate the effect of the structures that, while functional, are essentially cold flat featureless boxes, drawing attention to these elements as inadequate substitutes for real places or things. In addition to these photographs, Mathews is now exploring three-dimensional work, re-creating his suburban 1970’s split level home in miniature, reimagining the cookie-cutter development house with a new brutalist poured cement façade in effort to imbue it with a sense of individuality.
Ashley Morgan makes a deliberate attempt through the manipulation of objects to draw the viewer into a romantic world where love and loss are always revealed and where the idea of home is a constant search. Morgan is endlessly interested in objects’ ability to quietly transform space into a surreal playing field for the imagination. Selections for materials and content are made from her immediate surroundings. She takes notice, and wishes for everyone to see a light bulb as a star and a piece of crown molding as an endless horizon line. Building materials for the home become representations of people and worlds of their own, if one only pays attention.
NATE MATHEWS is a Chicago based artist, photographer, sculptor, and educator. His work examines architecture and three-dimensional design in an attempt to understand it better. Mathews photographic images examine the response people have to poorly designed architecture and how they try to alleviate the predicament with different artificial elements such as places to sit and have conversation, elements of nature, or enjoy a panoramic vista. He received a M.F.A. from Columbia College Chicago in 2008 and has shown work in numerous group and solo exhibitions across the country. He teaches photography as an Assistant Professor of art at Northeastern Illinois University.
More information about Nate Mathews can be found at www.natemathews.com.
ASHLEY MORGAN studied sculpture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (MFA 2010) and visual arts at Arkansas State University (BFA 2006). In addition to local and national research, Morgan has traveled abroad to study contemporary sculpture on the streets of Florence, Italy to gain insight into the boundaries between public and private viewing of contemporary art. In addition, she has exhibited both nationally and internationally including public art projects in Florence, Italy and Seoul, Korea. She has created site-specific installations and been apart of numerous group exhibitions including works at the Charles Allis Art Museum, the John Michael Kohler Art Center and the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Ashley Morgan lives and works in Milwaukee, where she is an instructor at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.
More information about Ashley Morgan can be found at www.ashleymorgan.info.