Plans and Contingencies: McGlothlin Center for the Arts Gallery Features Artist Matt Wilt

Posted by Allison Galloway
An artist who draws inspiration from ancient vessels and other historical ceramics is featured currently in the McGlothlin Center Art Gallery at Emory & Henry College.

Matt Wilt’s exhibition, Plans and Contingencies, also is inspired by the “flotsam and jetsam of contemporary culture,” according to the artist.

The exhibition is open to the public by appointment only, although curator Joe Champagne will soon be providing a virtual tour of the exhibition as well as access to an online recording of an Artalk.

While Wilt’s work in this exhibition is less vessel-oriented, those historical works continue to feed his ideas, which is demonstrated through forms that suggest a specific function or use, albeit a hybrid of the known world with a less concrete reality.

This newer work also draws from a catalogue of forms that are suggestive in nature. “In Philip Rawson’s book, Ceramics, he refers to memory traces, and the power of forms to evoke thoughts and memories,” said Wilt. “This is similar to the way we associate colors with emotional states or meanings. By incorporating forms that are symbolic and suggestive, I attempt to engage the viewer in a process of decoding.”

Most recently, Wilt has become intrigued by art that synthesizes the human body with the mechanical forms of the manmade world, connecting threads that link elements of history, culture and what it is to be human.

These forms, as manufactured objects replicating natural functions, act as substitutes for nature. “I find this composite of the physical body and the synthetic world simultaneously fascinating and frightening,” Wilt said. “Through this line of inquiry, I am conscious of the connecting threads that link the many disparate elements of history, culture, and what it is to be human.”

Wilt holds a master of fine arts degree from Ohio University in Athens. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including two Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants, an Illinois Arts Council fellowship, and the Evelyn Shapiro Foundation fellowship.

His artwork can be found in the collections of the Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento, the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, Arizona State University’s Ceramic Research Center, the Hand Art Center of Stetson University, the Kennedy Museum of American Art, and numerous private collections.

  • Decaying Orbit, Stoneware/porcelain/steel, 18”x14”x9”
I find this composite of the physical body and the synthetic world simultaneously fascinating and frightening. Through this line of inquiry, I am conscious of the connecting threads that link the many disparate elements of history, culture, and what it is to be human.
- Matt Wilt

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