Matthew Dutton’s “MIDNIGHT PARACOSM”

Created with a multitude of textures and materials, both natural and synthetic, the art of Matthew Dutton drifts into surreal realms, revealing a glimpse of a larger world that dwells within their creator. Matthew Dutton’s art employs a hybrid of visual symbols and found objects to create a feral aesthetic through economy of intervention which shares affinities with outsider art, art brut, and neuvre invention – a category of art Jean Dubuffet rationalized as “..of comparable power and inventiveness to Art Brut, but their greater contact with normal society and the awareness they had of their art works precluded their inclusion within his strict Art Brut category.” (quoted from RAW VISION Magazine)

Matthew Dutton creates 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.  The things that live within, are allowed to escape when disconnected directly from self; the choice to claim these things these things is a balance of honor and terror.

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. Commonly having its own geography, history, and languages, the experience of such a paracosm is often developed during childhood and continues over a long period of time: months or even years. Paracosms are also made reference to as types of childhood creativity and problem-solving. Some believe paracosm play indicates high intelligence. In the installation “Midnight Paracosm” Matthew Dutton is crating his own world of creative play.


Can you tell us about your formation as an artist?  At what point in your life did making art become a priority and do you recall the circumstances under which that transformation occurred?

A:    Some of my earliest memories were rooted in creating.  As a kid, maybe only 6-7 years old, on my fathers dusty masonry construction site, I would wander to the woods line at the edge of the property with a bucket of fresh, liquid mortar I swiped from the laborers. I toted the mixture to a trail of deer tracks that weaved in and out of the forest, pouring heavy globs into each track, filling them to overflow.  At the end of the day, I would return to collect the hardened concrete positives, brushing away the dirt and dipping them into buckets of water to admire my revealed first castings. I still remember making my own toys with construction waste on the sites, an airplane out of scrap 2″x4″s with a cardboard box fixed underneath full of nails that would deploy the payload when over their target; scrap wood stilts that I would cumbersomely hobble around on through piles of sand and mud next to the two story scaffolding and broken brick piles.  Throughout my life I have tried to find my way to art making however I saw fit with whatever I had on hand.  I came to the conclusion early on that everything and anything can be a medium to be considered for creation and I still employ this methodology today.  Robert Rauschenberg stated “I think a painting is more like the real world if it’s made out the real world.” I make sculptures with this in mind by using pieces from my real world to create interpretations of my subconscious world.  Blending the familiar with the foreign to unsettle the comfort.

What were the influences that formed your visual vocabulary?

eA:    I rarely draw direct influence from any specific source consciously.  With so many incoming visual imputs constantly bombarding our thoughts and minds on a regular basis it is impossible to not be subliminally influenced by something whether we realize it or not.  Early on in my sculpturing ventures I loved to look at antiquity and the amount of time that went into actualizing animal/human hybrid dieties.  The Assyrian Lamassu, Persian Manticore, and even the Egyptian Sphinx, to name a few, all some what have influenced the avenue from which the forms of my sculptures have traveled from the beginning.  The muted colors and kind of 1970s aesthetic, smoke stained layer of gross and grunge comes from growing up in a trailer in the woods.  I guess when your a kid, all of the things you encounter at home are owned by your parents, so you see a lot of things around from their generation which is partially why I tend to lean towards those choices.  I am drawn to that thrift store aesthetic rather than polished and shiny; more used and cheap I suppose. When you don’t have much, you use what you have.  I also approach material gathering for works like a chance encounter, a hunt or summons.  Certain objects speak to me and asked to be used in my artwork. I like the idea of creating places for things once forgotten.

Who are some of the artists in art history that you admire or consider visionaries?

A:    There have been several artists that have caught my eye for one reason of another.  Some that seem to stick around for me are Rauschenberg, Dali, Goya, Bosch, Fuseli, Bacon, Redon to name a few.  More current artists like Ron Pippen, Patricia Piccinini, Liz Mcgrath, Moth Meister, have much to offer in terms of conjuring my attention.

Do you see you work as part of the “low Brow / Pop Surrealism” movement or do you do see it as separate and distinct form any kind of hegemony?

oA:    I don’t think that my work would fall into the traditional sense of the category “Low Brow” for I really don’t address the punk rock, hot rods, California culture that spurred the movement. But as a means to describe an art movement that bridges the gap between high and low art, folk and fine art it could help to describe my work.  I feel that at times I have fine art ideas and techniques cobbled together with visceral reaction and execution and other times its just the opposite.  I feel my work could be described as avant garde for much of what I create is birthed from experimentation and always searching out new ways to solve art problems.  A hegemonic avenue I could be traveling is such that I’m using discarded cultural goods through thrift store supply gathering and revitalizing theses stuffs back into the realm of procurement? Not that recycling or reappropriating is some new thing, but to do so in such a way as a means to turn a spot light upon a throw away culture, bastardized consumerism, enamored with just enough touch of hand through the artist to be reinvented into something that might evokes real emotion and in doing so, revamp the significance of the objects purpose and value. These are just the means to get to the ends though. I suppose the Surreality I construct, based in narrative, fashioned from memories, exploring experimental and established techniques all lead me to some kind of distinction that embraces internal direction and subconscious happenings that result in the sculptures that I will leave for others to categorize, if your into compartmentalizing and stuff.