Matt RyerseChicago, Illinois

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident (ASPN) 2022

Matt Ryerse is rooted in Chicago, Illinois and Northwest Arkansas. They are a Merit Scholarship recipient and BFA ‘22 student of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Ryerse’s work spans painting, collage, and writing, but is currently oriented around ceramic sculpture. In 2016 and 2017, they sold paintings at the Northwest Arkansas Benefit Craft Show and completed private commissions. During this time, they worked as editor of the school newspaper, The Bulldog Herald, and won Superior for an editorial article submitted to the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association’s annual newspaper contest. They also worked as co-founding Editor-in-Chief for Reverie Literary Arts Magazine, a local publication supporting young creatives in the South. They also co-founded and co-led Springdale, Arkansas’s first-ever Gay-Straight Alliance chapter. After starting school at SAIC, Ryerse exhibited early sculptural work in Art Bash 2018: Contemporary Practices Exhibition, a juried student show at the Leroy Neiman Center in Chicago.

Since then, they have worked in a restaurant, in a warehouse, as a personal nanny, as a co-leader of a children’s environmentalism group, for SAIC’s Instructional Resources and Facilities Management department assisting in the demolition of a gallery and the maintenance of the school, and currently, as Collections Management Assistant for the John M. Flaxman Library. Their work has been published in #DearAdultWorld, Pest Control Magazine issues 3 and 4, Backspace Community Catch-up Zine, and In late 2021, Ryerse exhibited a series of sculptures in the student group show, Between You, Me, and Utility. This year, they have worked as Assistant Editor on DaBomb, an anti-nuclear weapons themed miniseries, and were an artist collaborator for General Artistic Labor Syndicate: Ceramics Division, a project shown in the exhibition Rational, Irrational, Emotional by Michael Casey Landini.

I practice worm composting, read science fiction, and think about queer love. Inside of each of these practices, I am a student to change, invited to meditate on what it feels like to be in an incomplete state of becoming. I see my artmaking as one of these multiple life and imagination practices, fully entangled, a writhing mass of compounding meaning. Interwoven throughout are themes of contradiction and material experimentation and relationality.

My sculptures are named for, and responding to, the natural phenomenon of Inosculation, of which the trunks, branches, roots of two trees grow together. This sensation is the aspiration of my work, to be both singular and plural, transformed and transforming in relationship to itself, to me, and viewers. Evoking layers of multiplicitous associations but not definitive categorization, I use an intuitively abstracted and fantastical visual language to think through questions of dichotomy and power. Functional and sculptural, bodily and environmental, self and other, animate and inanimate, failure and success… Inosculation is a permeable space of im/possibility, sensory tendrils reaching out always for more questions, never answers.