On Oct. 13, guest artist Matthias Merkel-Hess visited WT for the first time to display his artwork for the public.
Merkel-Hess’s collections, Featherstone and Devil’s Tower-LA, is now on display at the Mary Moody Northern Hall Formal Gallery. It opened with an artist talk and then the gallery opening followed.
“I was invited by Amy Von Lintel to come for the week,” Merkel-Hess said. “When I arrived on [Oct. 8], I spoke in a few classes.”
Merkel-Hess said he started to make art 10 years ago when he had just finished his undergraduate degree at the University of Arkansas.“I went back to school and got a Masters in Fine Arts,” he said. “Most of my work is based on pottery and the history of pottery ceramics.”
Merkel-Hess said that American icons inspire his artwork.
“This show has the [Devil’s Tower-LA], which is the first national monument that’s in Wyoming,” Merkel-Hess said. “My other half of the show is inspired by Don Featherstone, who sculpted the original plastic pink flamingos.”
Assistant Professor of Art History Amy Von Lintel invited Merkel-Hess to WT.
“I admire his work, he’s got a lot of ideas behind it, creative language and philosophy,” Von Lintel said. “[His work] isn’t just beautiful objects, but beautiful objects with deep thought.”
Von Lintel said that Merkel-Hess makes people question art and said that he always thinks outside the box.
“That’s why I brought him here,” she said. “His work isn’t just about pretty objects; he didn’t just go into a gallery and think ‘that’s a beautiful painting.’ That’s not what he does; he makes us question what art is.”
Assistant Professor of Theatre Costume Design Anne Medlock said that Merkel-Hess’s art exhibition was beautiful.
“It’s lovely and interesting,” said Medlock. “I love that he picked something so common and made it into beautiful art. His artistry is just phenomenal.”
Medlock said she loved that the feathers on the Featherstone flamingo drawings are gorgeous.
“I like how he has painted each individual pluck of the feather on the Featherstone collection,” she said. “His other work, Devil’s Tower-LA, is really interesting because it’s different from the Featherstone flamingos collection. It’s always good to see different artwork from the same artist.”