Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident (AIA) 2022
Matthew Drennan Wicks has been both nationally and internationally recognized for his ceramic and non-ceramic based sculpture. His work discusses a process-based exploration of traditional craft in a contemporary context that highlights specific domestic materials, the collapsing of historical stereotypes and gender roles, and the intrinsic properties of craft materials such as clay, fibers and glass.
His work has been showcased throughout the United States as well as Europe and Russia and has been included in collections in Massachusetts, Montana, Florida and Denmark. Wicks has shown at the International Fibers Biennial, Edition and Artist Book Fair: NYC and at Design Week Miami. He has been a resident artist at Guldagergaard: International Ceramics Research Center in Denmark, the Yucca Valley Material Lab in Joshua Tree, CA and is a Fellow of the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences.
Wicks holds a B.F.A. from The University of Montana, a post-baccalaureate degree in Craft from Oregon College of Art and Craft and holds an M.F.A. from the University of South Florida. Originally from New Orleans, LA; he currently lives and works in Tampa, FL.
As a maker I truly believe in the power of material, and in terms of fine art I consider material directly interconnected with meaning. My current practice is a process-based exploration of traditional craft, in a contemporary context; which highlights specific and familiar materials, and the intrinsic properties of ceramics, fibers and glass. I am always interested in how certain materials and processes can carry historic, gender-based and domestic baggage with them. Interested in the vessel as a quintessential icon in craft and a method of defining utilitarianism, I often seek out specific domestic, objects that can be altered and refabricated in non-traditional materials. My work often strives to strip objects of their inherent function to offer a unique dialogue relating to materiality, objecthood and value.
My studio research has recently resulted in a searching for connections between domestic objects, imagery relating to gambling/casinos, and the aesthetics of religious iconography. This research has led me to interior design of churches and casinos during the Art Deco period, closely studying formal aesthetics tied to religious relics and panel painting of the High-Renaissance as well as the symbolic and iconic designs of gambling paraphernalia and tarot cards. The overtly domestic/designer objects that my work takes cues from are tied to the post-modern condition of commodity and consumerism.
The use of ceramic, glass and fibers in my work has a direct correlation to the history of commodification and intrinsic value of the object. These process-based, craft materials require specific facilities and detailed processes. I have always needed to seek out locations to further my understandings of them. As my interests in traditional craft materials merge with contemporary design and objects from the home; I have become fascinated by the concept of “magical thinking” that seem to connect objects to good fortune, bad luck, faith and mysticism. My future studio practice and research will continue to investigate objects through lenses of domesticity, ritual and materiality. While my work always strives to present the viewer with familiar objects in unfamiliar ways, I hope to transform the mundane in new mythologies.