Matthew Moore: The States Project: Maryland
Back in September, a circle of photographers organically formed after an artist presentation and began enthusiastically chatting about in-progress work. During a brief pause in the conversation, one of us commented on the serious “photo power” in that circle and that we should actually try to meet up to appreciate the resource that we have nearby. In the months since, that small circle has engaged in fairly regular critiques that have been immensely helpful to my work, but also my sense of community. Matthew Moore is a key member of that circle and someone whose company I always look forward to enjoying. Matthew has a wonderfully deadpan sense of humor that I think matches so well with his photographs. Tempered with seriousness and a deeply inquisitive nature, his work looks at structures and monuments as a means to consider the layers of history and the lessons they may provide. Just like his personality, the seeming seriousness of the subject is balanced with recognition of the absurd and a willingness to grin at strangeness of it all. Whether I’m looking at Matthew’s work or having a drink with him, I know that I’m going to have a laugh and learn something new that is going to keep my mind quite occupied for the evening.
Matthew Moore is an Assistant Professor of Photography and Chair of the Visual Arts Department at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland. Matthew received a BFA degree in photography from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan in 2000. He earned an MFA degree in photography from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2009. Matthew’s work revolves around themes of nostalgia, the evolution of photography, and human-animal relationships.
I like to think of photography as being a time-based medium. The idea that photographs freeze or capture a fragment in time takes into account neither the recording of the image, nor the experience of viewing it. Even the subject of a “still” photograph can be reflective of more than just the moment at which the photo was taken. In looking at the landscape for example, I am interested in objects or symbols that represent a moment between times. Where as monuments, structures, or public works of art are often done to propagate certain ideals; those ideals inevitably fade, leaving the object obsolete and unwanted. By documenting these symbols, or their absence, during a time when society is trying to forget them, the photographs function like time capsules, preserving our past ideologies while at the same time pointing to the future. The images in this series, entitled Seascapes, depict the marine life murals of the artist Robert Wyland. The murals, mostly from the 1980s and 90s, can be found in almost every major US city. They portray whales breaching the water on skyscrapers or peacefully looking over vast expanses of parked cars. Today, in a world saturated by images they blend into the urban environment like fading monuments to a lost era, and many are have been erased from the landscape altogether. They represent a time when as a society, we resisted the transition to a de-natured life by awkwardly altering our urban environment.
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