Selected works by Justin Matherly

Justin Matherly
The significant and difficult run deep and do not flow on the surface (The beautiful and useful are not to be grasped at a glance)

2011

Glass reinforced concrete, ambulatory equipment

102 x 81.28 x 48.26 cm
Justin Matherly
All excellent things are as difficult as they are rare (Champion sound)

2011

Glass reinforced concrete, ambulatory equipment

121 x 63.50 x 48.26 cm
Justin Matherly
As long as its truth and purity remain inviolate and no blasphemous rationality dares approach its sacred confines (Guilelessly open and deeply hidden)

2011

Glass reinforced concrete, ambulatory equipment

97.79 x 57.15 x 48.26 cm

Articles

Justin Matherly
13th October, 2011, by Lauren O’Neill-Butler, Artforum

The Brooklyn-based artist Justin Matherly has participated in numerous group shows, including the 2010 White Columns Annual and SculptureCenter’s In Practice Projects. He is known for his large-scale cast concrete sculptures and statues that often feature ambulatory walkers and other medical devices. Here he discusses his exhibition at Bureau, which is on view in New York until December 18.
READING IS FUNDAMENTAL to my process. There are other elements at play throughout, but text––thought––is the overall structuring element that permits entry for me in terms of the specificity of a project. How the ideas connect to one another, what sort of interaction is created, and how something affects another thing is the process, which is arrived at through a combination of inherently open intuitive reasoning and factual reasoning.
I am currently reading Malevich’s essays on Suprematism, Spinoza’s Ethics, and various texts from Johann Winckelmann through to German Romanticism. The cast of characters that informs my work is continually growing, and they are always ready to be of assistance when called upon. There is never really a final end to a project, just material points created along the way. Consequently, the engagement with the textual within my process is meant not as an illustration of this or that thought—or text—but as an intensive engagement designed to concretize the thought, so to speak, and to employ it as any other material for building––effectively subsuming the text, idea, line of reasoning, et cetera, within the work so that it is as inseparable from the object as its final material form is. And so the text doesn’t remain apart from the object; it is buried fully within the work and becomes part of its fabric.
I have begun to utilize a bulletin board as a mnemonic device with which to structure a project. I arrange images, notes, and more on the wall in such a way that things can easily be removed, covered, or added. This happens in conjunction with reading and manifests the first incarnation of the ideas for a work. Once the ideas and forms are clear and distinct (as much as is possible) in my mind, I usually create a “positive” form out of rigid foam, utilizing both additive and subtractive methods, from the chosen reference image. This foam “version” is only a further attempt at understanding and is how, at that point, I understand the original form. In other words, this “version” is now the original form that dictates the structure of the final object in that it will become the actual interior of the cast concrete form and will, finally, be discarded.
The materials used for casting this final object––a combination of Tree Gators, rigid foam, brush-on polyurethane rubber, and hot glue––are chosen for their flexibility and, as opposed to the idea of a traditional mold, which is to reproduce precisely a form, for their inherent inability to do exactly that. This requires me to rethink the form in its negative existence and to react appropriately to follow this or that line or curve, directing the object to a greater or lesser extent.
The material is then cast in concrete. I trust it will do what it will. The combination of concrete with the unpredictable mold is what ultimately determines the final form.

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Source:artforum.com

Goings on About Town: Art, Justin Matherly
The New Yorker

Rough concrete casts of four ancient sculptures—the Roman “Pasquino” (a male torso missing its arms and legs) and three versions of the missing right arm of the Greek “Laocoön”—are elevated on pedestals made of medical walkers. Matherly transcends mere gimmickry: the walkers are intricately interlocked, imbuing the broken bodies with tenderness. The sculptures are paired with large monoprints of classical ruins overlaid with geometric shapes borrowed from Malevich. It’s a surprisingly coherent tactic, as the failed utopian dreams of Russian Suprematism merge with those of Greek rationalism.

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Source:newyorker.com

Justin Matherly
Sculpture Center, In Practice Projects, Fall 2010

Matherly's sculptures consist of ambulatory equipment (walkers, crutches, shower chairs) that have been cut and reconfigured to hold up concrete forms that recall misfigured bodies, roughhewn monuments, and abject accretions alike. Influenced by the artist's ongoing research into the writings of the Marquis de Sade and psychoanalytic philosophy, Matherly's new series of sculptures and related prints take up the effaced Belvedere Torso of Ancient Greece as an additional inspiration.

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Source:sculpture-center.org