How do you turn an idea into a thing? The artistic process can vary in so many ways, but in the case of conceptual art, the work of art is often composed of the idea and processes themselves. Matt Keegan looks into the process of fabrication, the distinctiveness of a work of art and how these works interact with one another. For his show at Andrea Rosen Gallery 2, Matt Keegan presents sculptural and photographic work, in conversation with Anne Truitt’s Landfall sculpture from 1970 and creates hanging steel sculptures by folding sheets paper in half and half again, cutting various shapes out with scissors, and a steel sculpture is then fabricated in the exact same shape as the cut out paper to eventually be seamlessly powder coated and placed over white carved sheetrock, which plates the walls of the gallery.
The mechanical fabrication, and the application of powder coating on the sculptures, give the illusion that the objects always were. The form is simultaneously random, (the artist gives it up to chance to decide on the shape of the paper cut out,) straight out of his subconscious, but controlled, as it is mechanically produced (the scissors, then the machine that makes it into steel) and inherently reproducible. It is simultaneously one of a kind and one of many. Just like origami, which follows a template, when you make your own you still feel like you’ve “created” something. Same goes for the the Japanese obi, which Matt Keegan’s sculptures remind me of. The folding of the fabric must follow a certain pattern, but there are many variables, which culturally and historically function as symbols.
With these allusions to fabric and folding, and to the intricate weaves of a piece of fabric, the repetition of shapes accumulate into a whole (in this case, the whole is represented by Anne Truitt’s sculpture, placed in the center of the room.) These patterns are universal, whether on micro or macro scales. They exist within the denim that we are wearing, in our social structures, in the pulp of a sheet of paper, the feathers of a peacock; patterns and their variables are what make up our world. With keeping his forms within the liminal space between idea and object Matt Keegan is exposing the guts of the private artistic process to the public. This show itself serves as a template of the systematic process of art making.