J. Matthew Thomas
I’m a midwestern artist and architect of Euro-Arab dissent living in the western US for nearly two decades. I use methods of deconstruction and reconstruction of materials to reveal and conceal natural and manufactured systems and patterns.
I am interested in the tension created by combining historic, social, cultural and land patterns with the contemporary dialog of development (and degrowth),consumption, and privilege. I create segments of a whole to allow the viewer new perceptions and disorientations, mostly inspired from personal experiences and histories. The labor-intensive process allows internal conflicts of identity to be assigned into the layers, creating a physical manifestation of internal psychological narratives.
My early works explored division, strife, and conquest through Western historical pattern making and capitalist exploits of consumerism and affluence. I’m interested in connecting my identity across continents and generations: a pattern stained of intolerance, colonialism, control, and an exploitation of land, people, and culture.
My paintings are meant as severed fragments of a repetitious present. In my attempt to understand my position, I needed to reconstruct the chronology of conquest, its patterns of expansion, and its complexity of birth and death. I acknowledge the beauty, the abrasions, the appropriation and disjunctions of this lineage. This mosaic serves as a reference map for my own contested existence. Within my recent shows, I used hand-made processes to create panels, tiles and full wall installations.
I work fluidly between art, architecture and design, and curation. My visual art practice incorporates painting, sculpture, and drawing. I use structure and the transformative nature of how it can be manipulated as a basis for my work. By embracing the opportunity for the unknown, I explore the boundaries between intention, participation, construction, destruction, and chaos. In my curatorial work I try to express the energy of collective opportunity and empowerment through greater community engagement.
As a curator, I have organized art exhibitions relating to public art, community, history, and queerness, including Who We Are (2017), Pecha Kucha Night Taos (2010-2019), The Paseo Project (2014-2019), Studio 238 @ The Harwood Museum of Art (2018-2019), Harnessing Light (2018), Water is Community (2018), Acequia Aqui (2018-2019), as well as co-organized shows including: Judy Chicago: The Birth Project from New Mexico Collections (2019), and Alicia Stewart: Unfinished…(2019) with guest curator Lucy Lippard. Curatorial projects can be found here.
Solo Show, Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, Sept/Oct
Muted, Taos Center for the Arts, Taos, NM (solo show)
Taos: 1960s - Present, Vivian Horan Fine Art, New York, NY
Meditations on the Many, Magpie, Taos, NM (solo show)
Geometries, Central Features Contemporary Art, Albuquerque, NM (solo show)
Song of the West-Contemporary Artists of New Mexico, KOHI-Kulturraum, Germany
Art in Public Places, Taos Art Council, Taos, NM
Art of Wine, Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, NM (resident artist)
Taos Fall Arts Festival, Taos, NM, Visionary Artist Award Recipient (solo show)
The Spring Experiment, DAFA, Taos, NM
Once, Arroyo Seco, NM (solo show)
Arte des Descartes, Taos, NM (juried show)
Taos Fall Arts Festival, Taos, NM
Storefront for Art and Architecture, Total Housing 01:
Apartments Competition, New York, NY
Twenty Que With J. Matthew Thomas, Riot Material, Dec, 2019.
"Matt Thomas Builds Surfaces", Taos News, Nov 2018.
“Taos: 1960s-Present”, THE Magazine, June 2018.
“Taos in the House”, TaoStyle, April 2018.
“Taos”, Wall Street Journal, April 2018.
“Embracing Obsessions”, Taos News, October 2017.
“James Matthew Thomas At The Harwood”, TaoStyle, September, 2018.
"...New Mexico's Best", Albuquerque Journal, May 2016.
“001. The Works of J. Matthew Thomas,” self-published, January 2016.
"One Smart Cookie," EDIBLE Magazine, Winter Issue, 2016.
"Architecture Progressed," TREND Magazine, Fall Issue, 2015.
"Studio Visits," THE Magazine, Santa Fe, NM, May 2015.
“Richard Spera and Matt Thomas,” TaoStyle, December 2014
Militant Roger Magazine, Vol. 1, Fall 2006.
RESIDENCY & AWARDS
2020 Residency, Santa Fe Art Institute, New Mexico
2019 Residency, Arteles Creative Center in Finland
2018 Residency, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont
2015 Selected Participant, The PORT Hackathon at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
2015 Visionary Artist Award, The Peter & Madelaine Martin Foundation
2010 Storefront for Art and Architecture, Total Housing 01: Apartments Competition.
2016 - 2017 203 Fine Art, Taos, NM
2012 - 2014 Taos Artist Collective, Taos, NM
2007 - 2008 Parks II Gallery, Taos, NM