A Q&A with artist Matt Weir

Mar 10, 2016 at 8:13 pm
Photo by Brian Bohannon
Photo by Brian Bohannon

[The above image is a detail of "BrainGrid" by Matt Weir.]

Matt Weir (mweir.com) creates sculpture. Yet describing him that way seems a little vague. In reality, he’s s cerebral creator of “contemporary works on nature and behavior” (his words). Think of him as your friendly neighborhood creative scientist.

LEO: When did you start making art?

Matt Weir: I was always the kid told that he was going to become a famous artist in grade school for drawing slightly better or more often than the others. So, if that counts for timing, I would say a long time ago. Art making out of my own intentions throughout the day did become a more focused activity around sixth grade though. Around that time I began to develop “projects” and those required some real desire to create and work for no apparent reason to me than cookies, perhaps. I just turned 36, so now I’ve been making art (by this standard) for about 27-and-a-half years.

LEO: Of all the art that you have created, what is the one you are most proud of?

MW: ‘Earth Measure.’ It took a small town of people operating in coordination — over 200,000 pounds of measured stone placed exactly, demanding engineering, physics, tool making and technical stone carving, in addition to big ambitions, problems and challenges. It was an incredibly daunting proposal to see through, but at one step at a time, with the incredible aid of everyone at Bernheim Arboretum, I was able to manage the project and successfully complete this huge work. I love working in land art proportions and hope to have the opportunity to do so more often for my community and abroad. My second piece would be ‘Presence,’ a subtle and somewhat disguised public artwork posing as a state historical marker located on the northwest corner of Fourth and Market Streets. Very different works.

LEO: On a recent visit to your studio, I noticed a few unusual things. Why do you have a pregnant mannequin?

MW: Why wouldn’t I?! She is an artifact from another ambitious work that happened to be my BFA graduation exhibition from UofL. The installation was titled ‘Reproduction, Stress, and the Death Drive: Go With the Flow.’ This work was my first big step into an entirely new period of work for me, one that I am still working from. It’s an artwork exploring our human nature through life, death and behavior.

LEO: And then there’s the stone toilet …

MW: ‘Fountain’ is my contemporary Duchamp homage. It is a carved stone toilet that I made to the specifications of a Crane brand toilet called the Whirlton. The act itself was a Dada expression but the work also recognizes our ongoing planetary cycle of environmental doom. It’s a great piece and one that needs a sympathetic home.

LEO: What are you working on now?

MW: All kinds of work. There are a couple life-sized statue commissions in the works, but most notably of Hunter S. Thompson, the Gonzo author and journalist. This is mostly going to be funded through a “Go Fund Me” crowdsourcing campaign organized by my team at GonzoFest. (gofundme.com/HuntersStatueLou). Otherwise, I’m working on at least a half dozen of my own artworks and projects ranging from pieces incorporating physics and math to lawyers and contracts. Check out ARTLIK [in NuLu]. Walk the tour, buy the coloring book and no matter what you see, vote for me. My installation is, naturally, at Galaxie, a great little restaurant at the front of the Green Building.