Collaborations with scientists
For seven years, Matt worked with scientists at the University of Michigan on research projects. In the beginning, his paper sculptures were used to describe complex structures in cell membranes and their movement. Later Matt and a group of scientists used paper as a research tool when creating a new type of solar panels. The paper structures Matt created were proven to make solar panels more efficient by using the movement of the sun. The exchange between art and science is a relationship Matt finds fascinating as so many of the patterns found in nature at a nanoscale are also repeated in things like architecture – something he himself has found a lot of inspiration from. Working on the border between art and engineering, Matt sees the science of paper as a vital part of his work. This is why when asked what his art means, Matt doesn’t give an answer. To him it’s the viewer’s job to decide what the works mean, while the artist asks questions – just like how scientists ask questions to gain insight.
– I don’t look at one specific thing and make a piece about it. My work is not didactic. I am not seeking to explain or present one specific idea in my pieces. I assume a viewer with limited knowledge of my work, process and intent. I want the work to stand without written explanation. Working with scientists, they saw me as a bridge between the visual and the theoretical. In turn I saw their work as inspiration. Right now, I am working on pieces based on the structure of nanoscale patterns and Islamic tiles. To me it is the artists job bridge the gap, to make the invisible visible and see things in a new light, says Matt.