Inside UMKC’s Matter Matters Exhibit

Artists transform functional materials into symbolic statements

What is the end function of the products we use? That’s just one of the questions posed by the artworks featured in the UMKC Gallery of Art’s “Matter Matters” exhibit.

The new exhibit explores the use of materiality as an art form, transforming consumer goods from their functional, everyday uses into symbolic and aesthetic artworks.

At first glance, masks and wall hangings appear ordinarily beautiful, but upon further inspection viewers will notice the mask is made of plastic bottle caps and the hanging composed solely of used shotgun shells and plastic.

Industrial meets fine art in the exhibit, where sculptures are made of colorful trash cans and Crayola marker caps.

Ultimately, the exhibit focuses on expression rather than consumption, aesthetic forms rather than utilitarian. The artists seek to “invent new forms” and “celebrate and re-interpret materiality in our daily lives,” according to the exhibit’s description.

Karolina Gnatowski, Dan Gunn, Alex Lockwood, and Noël Morical are the artists featured in the exhibit. Each used recycled consumable media to create their pieces.

Every work approaches the theme in the artist’s own unique way, aiming to either “manifest in the mimicry of other materials, create new meaning, build narratives or manipulate scale,” according to the Gallery of Art’s description of the exhibit.

These approaches are hidden in plain sight as viewers walk throughout the gallery.

Materials used for the works include paracord, plastic bottle caps, used shotgun shells, yarn, lottery tickets, and wire.

“Matter Matters” is free to the public and will be open in the UMKC Gallery of Art until March 9, 2019.

hnp7gh@mail.umkc.edu

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