Daniel Alexander Matthews

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Artist Statement

The word “nostalgia” did not originate from any ancient Greek or Latin words, in fact it was a word Swiss student Johannes Hofer created for his medical dissertation in 1688 as a way to describe an ailment which was, and is consider a type of social emotion. Hofer created the word “nostalgia” from two Greek roots, the first being, notos meaning “return home” and the second, algia meaning “longing”. Nostalgia is a sentiment of loss and displacement, but it is also a romance with one’s own fantasy. A fantasy of returning home or perhaps a fantasy of returning to a different time, a time of childhood.

In my recent work I wanted to focus on the ideas of memories and immigration. I am an immigrant working through a loss or a fragmentation of memories from when I was in a different place. I use memory in my work because we all reminisce about our childhood and in some ways it is what shapes us as adults. My work culls these memories we have in order to better understand who we are as individuals.

In the past year my work created a free and safe space for immigrants and folks to tap into their memories and tell their stories of immigration through writing on chalkboards, audio recording or simply just having a conversation during the workshops. The purpose behind these recent works, were to open the conversation and help create a type of archive that will help preserve individual and family stories of immigration. Through these stories we are able to find a connection and better understand the immigrant experience.

In my work I use a combination of sculptures, installation techniques and unconventional presentations to create an environment. I also use materials that are abundant often recycled wood, or found objects. Most of the work I create are laborious and are often large scale. I carefully plan out scenarios and possibilities that might occur within the space while at the same time leave room to be flexible. I want my audience to have a sensory experience where they can experience all my moves. It is very important to me that my work not only operate within an art context but it also has an impact on those who view it.



MFA, CUNY Hunter College, New York NY
BFA, CUNY Hunter College, New York NY


Thesis Exhibition, Hunter College Art Gallery, New York, NY
International Print Center New York; PrintFest; New York, NY
International Print Center New York; PrintFest; New York, NY
Home of the Workers, Space Gallery LIC Arts Open Festival, Long Island City, NY
10×10, Reis Studio Experimental Space Long Island City, NY
Hunter College BFA Thesis, Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf, New York, NY
Intersections, Baruch Performance Art Center New York, NY
The Store, The Store, LIC Arts Open Festival, Long Island City, NY
Three Community Murals, Public School 18 X John Peter Zenger Bronx, NY
Art as you like it, Hunter College New York, NY


Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellowship in Painting and Sculpture Grant, New York, NY
MFA Thesis Grant, CUNY Hunter College, New York, NY
Marion Netter Award, CUNY Hunter College, New York, NY


Teaching Fellow, Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York, NY
Guggenheim Learning Through Arts, New York, NY


POWER, Open Engagement Conference, Presenter, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA