Interview w/ Matthew Yaeger regarding his work Rarely Do We Stretch. -A.M.
A.M: Judging by the title, Rarely Do We Stretch, I assumed this piece was a unique representation of the human figure aging over time. Was this the concept you were thinking of while creating it? If so, do you reflect this idea in some of your other works?
M.Y: I had made some smaller studies and decided that I wanted to see what they would look like at a larger scale. After I made the first larger piece and hung it on the wall I was surprised at how the top section was bent over like a tilting head. I thought that was great that there was this connection to my own body through scale.
I would agree that they are figurative, but I’m more interested in how they made me aware of my own body. Because they are drywall, a material we see very much in one way, they instantly have this connection to the wall. By making several of them and spreading them out in space from each other I felt like they started to explore how they were positioned in space and what the limitations of that became.
In the back of my mind I feel like I’m often thinking of H.P. Lovecraft. In some stories there can be this walk through a typical town or landscape and when you turn the corner what was set up to be reality quickly falls away. I think this notion of our experience of the world as relative is always something I’m thinking of. How can I de-familiarize myself with images and objects in the world?
A.M: Looking at your artwork as a whole, what is the main message you are trying to relinquish to viewers?
M.Y: I don’t have a main message. I’m more interested in the work being self-reflexive for the viewer. I think by using specific references or setting up limitations, such as material and color and being aware of hierarchies within a piece, the work often is more analytical and open to interpretation.
A.M: What is your favorite medium to work in and why? Has it changed over the years?
M.Y: Although I’ve worked in many mediums and materials over time, I think I’m most excited about the notion of drawing. The line, speed, and economy of means of drawing for me is a very specific think-space. The immediacy that drawing allows, unlike painting (reloading a brush, or having to mix a new color), is the quickest way to see something.
A.M: I noticed you are not afraid of using vibrant color in your pieces. Is there color theory techniques behind your process?
M.Y: Color is more intuitive for me but there are some references to how we have become accustomed to color through images and products that we consume. Lately I’ve been thinking of Gatorade commercials and how amped up the color is. I’m always accepting and suspect of color because of examples like this. In work in the studio right now color is one of the things that I’m trying to make apparent as well as pushing up against.
A.M: Lastly, do you have any upcoming/current exhibitions for our readers to check out?
M.Y: Recently I had work in this awesome show at SOO Local titled Weird Neighbor, which was put together by Bruce Tapola.More recently I had work in a show at Page Bond Gallery in Richmond, Va., and I have work in an upcoming show at the Peninsular Fine Arts Center in Newport News, Va., which opens July 12.