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Exhibitions and Events

Efroymson Emerging Artist in Residence: Matthew Angelo Harrison

Photo of Tunde Wey during his pop-up dinner series “Blackness in America.” Photos by Moyo Oyelola; Courtesy Tunde Wey.
For his solo show Abstract Ancestry: Machine-Works on Paper at the Institute for the Humanities Gallery, Detroit-based artist Matthew Angelo Harrison ​is producing a suite of mechanical drawings with his homemade 3D printer. Starting with books and documents containing problematic historic portrayals as the substrate for his drawings, Harrison is able to explore issues of representation. His past experience as a clay modeler for Ford Motor Company in Detroit serves as a trace back to the industrial era—both the empowerment and prosperity as well as the inequality in regards to gender and race. Artifacts such as animal bones, skulls, or African masks are somehow less encumbered and more gestural, framed by the transparency of the Plexi glass rather than our attachments and associations with them. Harrison’s installations communicate the accessibility of story as well as perhaps the protective need for opacity and impenetrability as it relates to cultural identity. The exhibition also examines abstraction; setting the printers to work at a low resolution ensures that imperfections and variability come through in these machine-produced drawings. Harrison makes adjustments ​to ​the printer as it continues to create new drawings for the span of the exhibition.
Cutting away and abstracting certain elements of artifacts, Harrison is able to unearth a print without specific cultural associations. His process of dismantling and undoing suggests a change in the order of history. Harrison explores how tools, technology and concepts work together to do this in his exhibition. Stop by to meet Harrison on May 8 or May 11 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and see him and the printer in action, or stop by to see the complete exhibition, on view weekdays until May 11, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. This project is funded by a grant from the Efroymson Family Fund.

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