MATT LAMBERT – CHIMERA at PLATINA
2014 he graduated from Cranbrook Academy of Art (MFA) in Michigan.
The crafting of queer identity is fundamentally different; it is a process out of sync with the ado-lescent development of the body and mind, retarded by cultural friction. It is in this way that queerness is enticing, in its conscious decision (more truthfully an act of non-decision) to perform.
Matt Lambert’s slippery shifting objects draw heavily from the regalia of contemporary male homo-social spheres. They impart a (re)codified identity precipitated from an atomized cloud of sport, hunting, and military references. Protective gear, trophies, marks of rank, are just a few of the mechanisms we extrapolate from these originating realms, which also cast a shadow-or perhaps contain a back room-where the ostracism of queer identities coalesces and rebounds in fetishized form.
Supple leather is conflated with the precision of laser-cut linkages to create necklaces, or perhaps more rightfully, representations of necklaces. The links themselves are reminiscent of sash chains, a type of chain with a specified purpose, but within the stale amateur workshops of the everyman’s garage, basement, or shed it becomes one of many unspecified panaceas for the maladies threatening the home, and by extension, the male psyche. The forms created with these leather links drink from other waters as well-as amassed strands of beads laden with cultural heft reference status, wealth, and the storage of communal social information. In this capacity they bridge material and functional gender expectations and project their ability to codify the wearer collectively, in Lambert’s objects the socially scripted-game, hunt, and war-are channelled into the grandeur of identity’s performance. Here his work rubs up against and compound notions of the body’s presentation: its decoration, posturing, and placement. It is only natural, then, that the experience of the body-performance-object because subject through photographic documentation and portraiture. New layers are encountered through the act of picturing. Robert Sokolowski1 stated the three main elements of picturing: an object must be taken as a picture, something must be valued in the picture, and there is a person who creates the picture from the object. In this way, the photographs simultaneously complicate and dissolve issues of gender relating to the use of the objects themselves as we speculate on the identity and of the picture-taker and their appreciation for the pictured objects.
We cannot overlook the intervention of the face as prevalent in Lambert’s work. Especially considering the involvement of portraiture with its focus so keenly on face of its subject. These masks convey blurred origins that ambiguously protect the wearer as well as conceal and alter identity. One grouping seems particularly suspect, part protective cage, part animal remnant, and effectively a decorative overlay. The lines creating the masks’ structure complicate our ability to recognize the face. They remain symmetrical and face-like in composition, but they accomplish the feat of clouding our ability to discern facial structure along binaries. This buffering of perception changes our means of recognition and prepares the viewer for plural understandings of the information (identity) presented and to invent for themselves the queer possibilities behind the mask.
Matt Lambert necklace, medical leather,
OPEN TU-FR 11-18, SA 11-15