Thompson Gallery Features Ceramicist Wilt

By: Abbey Morelli, News Editor

Thompson Gallery is showcasing the work of ceramicist Matthew Wilt and his collection titled “Simple Machines.” Wilt is a Pennsylvania native who completed his undergraduate degree at Pennsylvania State University for Ceramics and Art Education in 1991 followed by a master’s degree in fine arts from Ohio University.

Wilt gained experience and insight in New York following his initial schooling as well as through his travels abroad to Nepal and Thailand. As his success increased and spread, he continued to teach and show his work, and was awarded a fellowship and studio space in Philadelphia.

His collection features hands and heads, and works to show the synthesis of mechanics and the human body.  Wilt’s pieces reference the future of our culture in this new age of development.

“My work is inspired by historical ceramics as well as the flotsam and jetsam of contemporary culture… The richness embodied by these ancient clay vessels drives me to make work that is emotive, reflective of my world-view and visually demanding of the viewer.”

Several of the pieces displayed in Thompson Gallery also contain a kinetic component. A switch attached to the side allows viewers a more interactive or hands-on viewing experience. While some pieces have a portion that spins, others display bubbling water, successfully incorporating this aura of both the human and the other worldly.

Influenced by Moche ceramics of Pre-Columbian Peru, Wilt strives to incorporate assets of diverse culture and the components of what is human in his work. Wilt states that his newer works have slowly become less mundane and concrete. They are more up for interpretation to the viewer, although, he makes his own personal intentions clear in writing.

Wilt lists the materials used in his collection “Simple Machines,” the most common being steel, glass, stoneware and porcelain. The pieces coincide with the titles he gives them.

“Aneurysm” features a somewhat ambiguous orb that could be interpreted as a body or head and contains a kinetic motion aspect below. A glass sphere of liquid can be switched on, creating bubbles that rush up and out, like blood escaping a clot. Others like “Hand/Eye” are even more self explanatory, but can still make a comment on culture and development due to Wilt’s choice of materials and thoughtful placement.

The Thompson Gallery remains open to students and to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Matthew Wilt’s exhibition will remain at Furman University until Sept. 28, 2018.

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