logomark 4-22 SM

Rema Hort Mann Foundation

Matthew Schrader

Consider a structure that is larger than you can visualize. A structure only grasped in its entirety
by the buildings, or entities it inhabits. A government? A faith? All the PVC piping in
Philadelphia?
My project is informed by the often imperceptible materials and systems that drive the transportation of ideas, goods and bodies around the world. This is the space of infrastructure, the space between, or a space in relation. My work begins by thinking about what is visible in this space and what is not, what are the forces that are acting to shape an experience, an object, or an institution? My interventions, sculptures, drawings and photographs aim to collapse the physical and social implications of force.
My process begins through a material or spatial investigation. Two terms that I have been
working with are the conduit and the field. The conduit traces through space as well as
language, acting as ‘a natural or artificial channel through which something (as a fluid) is
conveyed’. Concrete form and forms of speech, the simultaneously rigid and flexible. The field is
what contains and what frames.
I utilize materials that have been mined from the earth and subsequently, have gone through a level of processing. I am interested in considering the forces that have imprinted upon or shaped these fragments of industrial production. This set of materials contains but is not limited to steel sheets, rods and bands, various industrial rubber gaskets and conveyer belts, industrial plastics, plastic films, antennas, pipes, and rare earth magnets. I subject these materials to processes to find form through stacking, cutting, attaching, compressing, layering, and pressing between objects. I am interested in responding to the properties that these materials were designed to perform, which also always involves the ways in which they fail or, reach exhaustion. I then work with the objects and images that I make to gage and accentuate the already present conditions of viewing. These works point to what is existent but perhaps overlooked in a space. I engage the physical systems that pierce the space of exhibition as well as the space just outside the space of exhibition.
A recent project titled a high frequency alternating current, can serve to illustrate the relationship between my work and its context. This project took place in Baltimore Maryland, in Highfield House, a building designed by Mies van der Rohe. My project involved drawing a relationship between the building and a neighboring radio broadcast tower used by the Baltimore Police Department. The objects that comprised my exhibition functioned to make this broadcast tower visible through the gallery windows and therefore an unavoidable aspect of viewing art in this modernist building.
The field in this case involves the interior space where the show took place and extends outward to include the neighboring infrastructure and physical mechanisms of control that condition the space. My work has consistently engaged what lies between. As an artist that is both Black and mixed race, my disposition for the space between is as much a lived reality as a conceptual preference.