Matt Miley Brought by Brown Bag Lecture

On Friday, Nov. 8, the Mississippi College Department of Art hosted an hour long Brown Bag Lunch and Lecture/ Demonstration in the Samuel Marshall Gore Art Galleries featuring professional artist and MC alumni Matt Miley. Students enjoyed their lunch while listening to his captivating presentation.

Young, clean-cut, and well-spoken, Matt Miley acquired his undergraduate degree in graphic design at MC. He then studied in London and got inspiration in Paris, after which he acquired his Masters in Fine Art and Painting at Florida State University.

Miley currently has a gallery in Manhattan, N.Y. Newlywed, he plans to move to Sweden to continue his expanding collection of artwork as he grows in inspiration and continues to fine-tune his talents.

What began as a nondescript artist sit-down, unexpectedly showed itself to be an incredibly fascinating and informative session in which listeners could not help but hang upon the vivid illustrative language that portrayed Miley’s passion for his work in which he described the philosophical and conceptual ideas he skillfully knits into his artistry.

Miley’s self-reflective journey unfolded in the individual and collective explanations given revealing systematic psychological change. The schema of his work includes mythological propositions, animals or beings in a state of becoming undone, anthropomorphic and zoological morphs that are fragmented and intricate.

He prefers a graphic style of drawing using mixed media such as gouache and ink that actually categorizes his drawings as paintings. He likes to create extreme depth of detail and layered information in his paintings.

Miley said, “It’s about density of information and abstraction.” He uses the technique of building a drawing in the way that one constructs a painting.

Taking inspiration from a book called the “Logic of Sensation,” Miley attempts to break away from artwork that is too direct and too illustrative but has more layers and more meaning. He says that art is less about the product and more about the process for him.

He aspires to “distinguish sensation from perception” using Gestalt theory. He enjoys playing with symbols and chaos sometimes using hyper-details. In his thesis collection, he demonstrates his playfulness using what he calls “transparency figures.”

Miley’s mission is to create “something familiar yet unfamiliar” in which “you’re hinting at things” and aspects of the art “could be coming out of something or nothing.”

In his Realignment Skeptical Series he also said, “It’s about realigning the self and the body.” He believes intentionality is the key component an artist needs to have.

He likes doing large scale, painting-like, dense drawing. Within a collaborative series, Miley has a 16 foot painting called “When She Strikes,” depicting storms in the body and the storms of Louisiana. It is meant to represent what happens after the emotional impact of a loss. It can be interpreted multiple ways as crisis, change, or physical and emotional change. Miley suggests “We are the storm.”

Miley wants the viewer to be fully immersed in information. He takes up the space on the page with the heaviness of sculpture even though it is just paper.

The artwork Miley produces shows influences of the sport of judo as he throws objects and landscape up into the air. He likes to work in narrative style in which he stacks his narratives in layers.

Some of his artwork forces the viewer to question whether animals are becoming part of the earth again or coming out of it. Southern landscapes of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida permeate a majority of Miley’s work. He admires Williams Faulkner’s ability to capture the unique golden light of these landscapes which is mentioned in the book “Light in August.”

Miley brought a work in process to the lecture in which he plans to use Scandinavian landscape and heavy imagery. The finished piece will be unveiled in Stockholm.

MC students are encouraged to check out this amazing artist’s work at the webpage: mattmiley.com.

– Bethany Kuhn, Reporter

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