I’ve been a fan ever since I spotted one of Matt Durant‘s abstract salvaged wood pieces hung in a furniture store on Queen Street West a few years back and have been following him ever since. I was already intrigued by his use of organic materials splattered with graphic bold pattern, but even more interested when I saw his solo show of new work pop up last month. Using similar materials such as rescued objects and wood, Matt has taken a more refined approach to these works that are definitely worthy of hanging on your wall.
“Wood and metal and materials, they scar like we do; there’s always a story behind what happened to create that marking,” he says, and it definitely shows in pieces such as “Atlas,” where old wood with decayed waxed layers from a past unknown has been cleaned, cared for and brought back to life to give it new meaning.
What is the message you are trying to convey from the work that you do as an artist?
Much of what I’ve been doing lately revolves around hunting down strong salvage material, particularly wood. The more character and markings of storytelling, the better. I like thinking about the past lives of these items, the scarring, stains, cracks, anything that it has picked up along the way of its journey to get to this point. I suppose that would be the best place to find a deeper meaning. I am in a sense giving a rebirth to much of it, and marrying its sense of old to one of new by mixing it with contemporary composition.
What was the biggest risk you ever took in your career as an artist?
Definitely making the move to full-time and taking on a full studio. It’s easy to trust your vision one day, and question yourself the next. It’s a big city with a lot of good artists, there is no mystery to the fact that it can be difficult to stand out and to find clarity needed to find voice.
How does your current series you are working on differ from past work?
I would say there is a new technical level I’ve achieved this year, and it’s most apparent in the execution of these pieces. I’ve learned a lot with the aid of better tools and continuously evolving a conducive, ergonomic workspace.
How can our young professional readers follow and preview your works?
I am a social media nerd, so it’s very easy to find me. Alongside the major platforms, I also use Instagram to document daily life in the studio, it helps in bringing the process of my work to my website by porting those images to my public archives. I’m a visual person, so taking pictures feels natural to describe where I’m at. My phone is usually nearby, so it doesn’t interrupt the flow.
Should art need to be explained?
What do you think Toronto’s strong points are as the art hub in Canada? What’s lacking?
There’s certainly no shortage of inspiration here, whether it’s within the environment around us or the colleagues found along the way. I think it’s important to find people who are doing things that excite you, so you can feed on that. If you are lucky and it is mutual, it can become a synergetic experience. That energy can then be ported into whatever you are doing when you are on you own. It works for me, anyway. Toronto is full of artists – good and bad. Good artists that are making money, good ones that are broke. Bad artists that are making money, bad ones that are broke. And a whole lot of in between. It can be overwhelming but I can’t imagine being anywhere else right now.
If you are around this weekend, head on over to the final weekend of RESILIENCE: SOLO SHOW OF NEW WORK that Matt has hanging at the Goodfellas Gallery. While you are in the area, make a day of it, grab a drink and some local food as you’re browsing around the Parkdale Flea happening Sunday, August 5th.
Don’t forget to check out and like Matt’s pages for updates and info on upcoming shows!
For pricing or commission work, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Weekend & Heart ART!