The sculptures of Matt Hoyt (American, born 1975) often evoke improbable growths from the natural world: unknown seashells or bone fragments, barnacle accretions or twigs, stones, pits, fungi, rinds, and husks. This near-familiarity draws us close—what exactly is that? Detecting tool marks and other signs of human manipulation rather than organic development, we edge closer still—how did he do that?
For his exhibition in the Gallery for Small Sculpture, Hoyt has designed an installation of mainly new work that has been in development for the past six years. More than 100 individual objects and discrete sculptural groups will be installed within the exhibition’s vitrines. While Hoyt’s work has been featured in important group exhibitions, this is the most significant solo exhibition of his work to date and his first one-person museum exhibition.
Hoyt does not directly base his works on found objects—they are abstractions—but an uncanny quasi-recognition inescapably colors the experience of these sculptures. The matte, palm-sized objects are laboriously crafted from unorthodox art materials, such as wood filler and plumber’s caulk, on an improbably intimate scale. Each sculpture begs to be picked up and turned over, palmed and worried like a lucky stone, or pocketed like a talisman. This is visual art that wants to be haptic, that instantiates the human desire to apprehend through touch. Hoyt’s haunting sculptures demonstrate the artist’s extraordinary investment of time in his craft, even as they evoke more epic durations, such as evolutionary or geological time. They invite contemplation and in so doing resist speed—a rare tonic in frenetic times.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.