Recycled Play, Sean Matthews, August 2018

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Category: Lobby Gallery Past Exhibits


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Recycled Play by Sean Matthews

On view in the Lobby Gallery and DeSoto Family Vault August 10 – November 4, 2018

Recycled Play, a site conscious installation, utilizes the artifacts of childhood to unify three concepts: parental guidance, themes from art history, and the basic elements and principles of design. Although the work is inspired by the abstraction of these concepts, the familiar forms allow each viewer to experience the work through memories of their own childhood. As an artist, Matthews is inspired by observing his own daughters as they navigate their youth. The concepts that inspire a work of art are often lost in complexity, much like the playfulness of youth is lost in adulthood. Recycled Play is intended to provide levity and infuse playfulness in a complicated adult world.

Matthews believes that visual art based in the foundations of design can be accessible to all audiences, His intent is to empower the viewer with an ability to interpret his work through the lens of their own aesthetic background.


About the ARTIST

Sean Matthews is a mixed-media sculptor whose work examines broad relationships between the altar and the object by investigating aesthetic connections between material, composition, and space. His process rotates between many of the traditional techniques of sculpture, such as wood construction, steel fabrication, carving, casting, and ceramics, but also includes explorations of the found object, the readymade, and installation art.

Matthews received a BFA from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, with multiple concentrations in Sculpture, Metals and Jewelry, and Fibers. As a BFA Candidate, he was an Art-o-Mat contributor and has a small sculpture in The Whitney Museum’s private Art-o-Mat collection. He studied under the direction of David Nash and can be seen in Nash’s 2003 DVD documentary, Discovering Heartwood: The David Nash Residency. Matthews received his MFA in Sculpture from Towson University. During his MFA candidacy, his work was critiqued by artists such as Rona Pondick, Richard Hunt, and Wendell Castle. Sean Matthews is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Messiah College and teaches an array of studio courses from Introduction to Sculpture to Installation Art.



Statement regarding damage done to the Recycled Play exhibition on August 17, 2018:

The museum regrets the unfortunate occurrence regarding Sean Matthew’s Recycled Play exhibition. Instances such as this are the reason that museums and cultural institutions of all types have insurance, and we have begun the process with our insurance company to rectify this situation appropriately.

There are important reasons that institutions ask visitors not to handle artwork, the most important of which is to keep the works and the viewers safe. During the installation process, the decision was made by the artist and the staff to not provide physical barriers that would separate viewers from this work to preserve the original design of the exhibition. In response to this incident, we have engaged our staff and volunteers in rigorous discussion about visitor safety and procedures. We have also increased signage in this exhibition indicating that work should not be touched. We urge the public to be conscientious during their visits to art and historical institutions, to preserve the collections on view and insure the safety of all.




– Friday August 17, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Third in the Burg- Free admission! Event here. 

– Sunday September 9, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  Gallery Walk- Free admission and extended hours! Information here. 

– Friday September 21, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Third in the Burg- Free admission! Event here. 

– Saturday September 22, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day, Information here. 

– Friday October 12, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Third in the Burg- Free admission! Information here. 

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  • Photo courtesy of Marisa Renee Smith