Your SEO optimized title


Featured Artist.jpg


      t om  m a t t h e w s

Matthews-Surplus 4 8-09.jpg







             2nd PLACE WINNER:  The NEW 3 R's Competition
tom matthews
McAllen, Texas/usa
surplus 4
mixed media, using old school chairs                       
$10,000 + delivery & installation

www.tommatthewsart.com (under construction)


artist statement

I use mechanically reproduced pedestrian items such as used school chairs, industrial aprons and matchbooks to construct sculpture.  I do not alter the items; instead I alter their context by orchestrating their orientation into rhythmic patterns of formal symmetry transforming them from utilitarian functional objects into temporary formal and conceptual sculpture.

Traces of the human experience are left behind on the chairs and it is this essence or ghost image that I am interested in exploring.  Generations of a physical presence unseen and rarely noticed. There is humanity in each object and they all reveal the touch of a human body.  The remnants of those lives left behind and the spirit of what a single item can mean to a person is the essence of what the sculptures represent.  

The school chair could be a metaphor for social commentary.  One chair used over and over for generations of students, taught the same things, in the same way, sitting in the same place, shadowed by those that came before.  Year in, year out, repetition and discipline.  A social educational rhythmic order.  The unchanging system revolving around the unchanging chair.  Yet the students which occupy the chairs are all different, with different needs, different learning abilities, and different pasts and different futures.  Some are passed from classroom to classroom in need of repair.  Some valued more than others.  Many are overlooked, left in the shadows, ignored.   Finally, viewed as objects no longer useful to the system, they are discarded.

I feel a sense of redemption, and rescue with these objects, and view the sculptures created with them, as the summation of a sculptural equation.  I feel I'm linking the past lives of each item, to the pieces I create.  I am recycling discarded items, which touched, both physically and mentally, numerous human lives.