Matt Nichols is originally from Southern California and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. He holds a BA in Art Practice from U.C. Berkeley (2003) and received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2010). He completed a summer residency at ACRE this year. 

Matt on his work: “I am largely invested in language, symbols, architecture, and rituals as examples of the social constructs that underlie culture. I believe these physical and psychological nodes to be at the root of personal influence and comprise a natural infrastructure that dictates the occurrence of daily events. Furthermore, it is my interest to question the implicit disposition of personal and institutional values within the social hierarchy at large.”

“As a point of departure, I begin by identifying and extracting coded signifiers from common daily occurrences, subsequently proceeding to report my findings in visual and experiential terms. For these reasons, my practice is an exploration of the space between affect and its physical effects, making my work largely reactionary, frequently referential, and embedded in the blurring of embodied versus designative signs. I seek to present narratives and ask questions through the offering of objects, utilizing an array of ambiguous yet resonant forms as a meaningful point of reference for the human psyche.

My work merges surface material with structural form in a manner that borders engineering in its craft, making use of popular culture, art history, iconography, and semiotics for its meaning. The specific combinations of material, form, and reference that I create serve to generate a physical and psychological tension that forces a negotiation with the objects they compose. By playing upon ambiguity as a cornerstone for conceptual digression the work acts as a dual layered hierarchy of personal interest, pitting the viewer’s initial recognition, definition, or familiarity of the object’s reference against their new, reassigned interpretation. Ultimately, my work is about the viewer’s experience and personal connotations in relation to the greater collective consciousness.”