"The interplay of safety and sanity we try to live in our daily lives can be explored safely in all forms of creativity."
Tell us about yourself what you're currently working on.
I am a graduate student in cellular biology and accidental creative living in Baltimore. I make collage art with an exacto blade and a glue stick, using whatever print media I get my hands on.
Besides re-opening plans for my laboratory and not going crazy, I am working on a couple pieces. I am in the beginning stages of a piece that will incorporate, in my own way, design elements of indigenous Australian dot painting and the Danish designer Verner Panton. I have been assembling multiple abstractions using figures from scientific publications. Lastly, I have been trying to create a series of smaller pieces of dreamscapes and figuring out how to preserve them for mailing, so I can send them out as postcards to fellows in isolation.
Has your work shifted in response to the pandemic? How?
Firstly, being sent home to quarantine has afforded me some flexible time to resume making art, something I had set aside for several years. I needed an outlet as I tried to adapt my work to a non-laboratory setting and adapt to the series of "new normals" that have presented themselves to the world. This time at home has also called into question a lot of meaning and motivation. This reassessment has been reflected in the stylistic explorations that have emerged in my work. Attempting to make sense of the psyche in isolation, I have explored more pure abstraction than previously. Mental health, my relationships, the quest for meaning/direction/intent, and that abstract bugbear called the future have become important themes in my methods and output.
In your opinion, what is the role that the creative process can play in helping us confront our "new" reality?
We are all being confronted with new realities constantly. In the current state of affairs, the progression of new realities are coming more quickly, and more dramatically different from what we consider normal. It is exciting and terrifying. Some are embracing it, while others stay in denial. The hardest part is that many people are going through all this alone, or at least with fewer resources and/or distractions than typically available. I think the creative process is an important, if not always articulate, means of making sense of the uncertainty. The interplay of safety and sanity we try to live in our daily lives can be explored safely in all forms of creativity.
It has been so important to remember that I am not as alone as things might appear to me. I need to reach out to people as I think of them.
See more of Matthew's work here.