A(r)mor by Matt Lambert

Exhibition  /  03 Nov 2017  -  07 Jan 2018
Published: 05.12.2017

© By the author. Read Copyright.

Matt Lambert’s work investigates queer identity, the construction of masculinity, and the body’s protection from both hetero- and homo-normativity.

Artist list

Matt Lambert
In his practice, the artist employs the vernacular of masculine sport, specifically those sports that have set formalities for the reenactment of violence, such as found in fencing. Further to the sports metaphor, Lambert’s objects manifest a diversity within a unity, as no two objects are ever the same. The works that Lambert creates are displayed in installations with large-scale portraiture and other industrial objects to construct representations of the limitlessness of the male world, rooms of years past, and places of storage and flux (such as the tool shed and locker-room).

The utility and purposefulness of the objects generate a conversation about masculine space; what is included and what is excluded challenge the starkness and stoicism of the working-class queer sexuality. Everyday objects that seem so familiar, appear in unexpected ways, queering our perceptions about domesticity, as floor and upholstery materials become wearable objects. The lines of function and decoration bleed together, a commentary on the rituals that have the potential to either bind or liberate the body. The artist describes the materials and forms of these carefully designed objects as seductive, even aphrodisiacal.

Lambert’s practice jumps between handcraft, digital fabrication, photography, and performance. Combining these processes helps form symbiotic relationships where, in combination, the differences in process strengthen the resulting work. The lines of delineation between craft, design, performance, and fashion are blurred, and his objects become ones of conservation terrorism; that is, they must be engaged with an actual body to show their potential. Lambert’s aesthetic strategies originated within the field of contemporary jewelry, which is by its own nature a queer field. Contemporary or art jewelry challenges the societal norms of preciousness and value. It also blurs or hybridizes aesthetic categories. Jewelry has the potential to terrorize the institution for this very reason. Inhabiting the liminal space between classifications, it is hard to pin down. In addition, it often requires a body to complete it, a fact that questions traditional display practices. Lambert uses this foundation in jewelry to work interstitially but maintains the approach to detail and fastidiousness of construction, thus preserving the signifiers for “jewelry.” Lambert’s practice is not to impose his will on source materials, but instead, he sources materials to suit the need of the object at hand. These materials are selected from Lambert’s mass collections of damaged objects and remnants or made from substrates often used for supporting or fixing but not intended to be seen. Steel structures are re-skinned with epoxy, resin, and enamel to form skeletal cages. Upholstery fringe is ripped from its discarded source, taken apart, and reconfigured into specific patterns only seen by the wearer. The object, though, presents the distortion of the wearers face to the viewer.

Lambert does not work in a linear fashion, but instead creates pieces on multiple projects simultaneously over long periods of time. As objects are made they are grouped together for temporal installations with no concern for the concept of “series” or where the works fall on a timeline. This queering of the grouping of items speaks to the overall process of Lambert’s creation. With no pre-determined grouping, objects converse with each other in site-specific installations, constantly being reconfigured to dialogue with location. This strategy also speaks to queer temporality, as the installation will never be repeated; it can only exist in the present.

The construction of Lambert’s objects is almost always done in private, and by his hands only. Grounded in a research background in psychology, Lambert rigorously researches his future production, using texts and historical archives in advance of an extremely intuitive and impulsive process. This open-endedness allows the research to enter the making at will. Upon the completion of object-making, Lambert collaborates with performers and photographers to add additional facets and ways of interpreting the work. This keeps the interpretation and meaning of the work unrestricted and this encouragement of subjectivity allows for many entrance points. Lambert additionally works with writers when possible to add even more layers of strata to the work. Thus, the world around the work grows, forming a chimera—a fantasy that seems completely possible.
Matt Lambert. Necklace: PickAxe 06, 2017. Mirrored acrylic, leather. 50 x 33 x 1 cm. Matt Lambert
Necklace: PickAxe 06, 2017
Mirrored acrylic, leather
50 x 33 x 1 cm
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Matt Lambert. Object: Mask4masc Performance of Violence, 2017. Found object, textile. Matt Lambert
Object: Mask4masc Performance of Violence, 2017
Found object, textile
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Matt Lambert. Necklace: Swag, 2017. Silk, rayon, leather, steel. Matt Lambert
Necklace: Swag, 2017
Silk, rayon, leather, steel
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Matt Lambert. Necklace: RAW 30, 2017. Leather. 58.5 x 25.5 x 6 cm. Matt Lambert
Necklace: RAW 30, 2017
58.5 x 25.5 x 6 cm
© By the author. Read Copyright.