This new body of work begins from the assumption that form (the physical things around us) is the foundation from which consciousness builds language and ideas for communication. Historically, this assumption establishes a lineage that begins with form and ends with communication–it creates a movement, or a directional flow, from pure, or pre-linguistic form, to language and ideas that can be communicated. This transformation is a process of approximation, grouping, categorization and generalization. It does not ask the question, What is this? It asks the question, What is this like?
Writers and critics, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, have argued that this transformation from form to language in the modern consciousness happens almost, if not, instantaneously. The title of a biography about the artist Robert Irwin, “Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees,” gets at this idea succinctly. The title implies that, “to see,” is to have an experience of something that is, for a moment, outside of, or before, language. The title recognizes language as an impediment to detail and specificity, which, it assumes, are essential to “seeing.”
One way to think about formal abstraction in contemporary art is as an attempt to slowdown the speed of this movement from form to language. Formal abstraction privileges experience over communication–it is an opportunity to revel in the question, What is this? Within a particular frame of reference the answer to this question has become “it is art.” The answer, it is art, negates the original intent to deny classification. This oscillation creates a backdrop for this body of work. Each piece is an attempt to get at this pervasive, and rather perverse, feeling of both knowing and not knowing, and to create experiences whose internal logic illuminate the larger structures by which consciousness transforms experience into meaning.
Artist Bio / CV
Matt Wycoff was born in Anderson, South Carolina in 1980 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He is a 2002 graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute Sculpture Department. Wycoff is an artist, writer and freelance journalist. He has been an artist in residence at the Urban Culture Project Studio Residency, (Jan. 04 - Mar. 05) in Kansas City, Missouri, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, (Feb. 07 – Apr. 07) in Omaha, Nebraska and The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has exhibited his work in both solo and group exhibitions in venues such as the Leedy-Volkous Art Center, (Kansas City, MO), Dolphin Gallery, (Kansas City, MO) RARE Gallery, (New York, NY) and most recently at The Hogar Collection in Brooklyn, New York. Wycoff’s work has been reviewed in numerous publications, including The Kansas City Star, The Pitch, Art Papers and Review.