Exhibition by Matthew Shlian at Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe
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Exhibition by Matthew Shlian

Friday March 1, 2019

Additional Dates:

725 Canyon Rd
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Phone: (505) 986-9800
Website: Click to Visit




Shastyn Blomquist

Phone: 505-986-9800
Website: Click to Visit

More events at Turner Carroll Gallery

Runs through 03/25/2019.

Artist and designer Matthew Shlian, who describes himself as a paper engineer, gives patterns of life and motion to an otherwise flat form: paper. A lifelong fascination with geometric forms lead Shlian to experiment with paper folding, which lead to a short career in pop-up greeting cards. Shlian soon realized his concepts were larger and more complex than the greeting card industry would bear, and turned his sights to larger projects, eventually catching the attention of scientists who saw great potential in collaborating with him. Shlian, who has worked with scientists on research projects ranging from Alzheimer’s Disease to solar panels, says, “Researchers see paper engineering as a metaphor for scientific principles; I see their inquiry as a basis for artistic inspiration.' Artists and scientists both create work and investigate ideas from a common place: curiosity. It is by the act of asking questions—not giving answers—that both scientists and artists explore ideas and creative expression. 

Shlian creates intricate three-dimensional geometric forms with exact folds and creases to form bas-relief sculptures. His works are often based on classic Islamic tile design principles, born out of years of study using geometry as a basis for patterning. The unit is as important as a whole and symmetry, proportion, light, shadow and repetition are all considered. Shlian explains, “My process is extremely varied from piece to piece. Often I start without a clear goal in mind, working within a series of limitations. For example on one piece I’ll only use curved folds, or make my lines this length or that angle, etc. Other times I begin with an idea for movement and try to achieve that shape or form somehow.”

There is an illusion of movement as the viewer’s eye quickly travels back and forth throughout the piece. In this tangible art form, Shlian creates various geometric forms in a very malleable and unpredictable process. His starting point is curiosity. “I begin with a system of folding and at a particular moment the material takes over. Guided by wonder, my work is made because I cannot visualize its final realization; in this way I come to understanding through curiosity.”