Tennessee based sculptor Matthew Dutton once described his works as “whimsical horrors”, animal-human curiosities that are often seen lurking in assemblages of household objects. The idea of material manipulation first struck Dutton as a child, when he would build his own toys out of scrap construction materials and take things apart to see what was on the inside. Inspired by the combinations of human and animal forms that have appeared throughout art history to pop-culture, specifically Jim Henson’s creatures in the 80s films Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, Dutton’s art employs a hybrid of visual symbols using a multitude of textures and materials. His sculptures are intended to take their viewer on a journey into surreal realms, “a larger world that dwells within their creator”.
In his artist statement, Dutton further explains: “A story explained through objects created within a time frame that is chronologically disjointed; only to come full circle within the content of a chance meeting, an available selection, made on impulse.” In his upcoming installation titled “Midnight Paracosm”, debuting on March 2nd at Stephen Romano gallery in New York, Dutton is crafting his own world of creative play. A paracosm is a detailed imaginary world created inside one’s mind. This fantasy world may involve humans, animals, and things that exist in reality; or it may also contain entities that are entirely imaginary, alien, and otherworldly. Fully embracing the clutter of yard shows, swap meets, flea markets, and roadside attractions, Dutton’s latest mysterious beings take us back to his childhood creativity and problem-solving.
“I grew up in the woods as a child, exploring, wandering, and wondering in the wilderness often on my own. When my parents split I was around 10 years old and I was taken away from my wooded adventure land. I was thrust into urbanization beyond my control. It took nearly 20 years to reunite with my father; catching up with him has opened the flood gates of memories from my wild roots. I am discovering that my current work has become an avenue from which I am ‘rewilding’ myself. Making up for lost time through invention and subconscious recollection.”