Matt Mullins’ artistic blend of human design and the landscape most significantly represents our integration with the natural world (learn more from Matt's artist bio). However, there is another theme that emerges from his combination of human-designed patterning and the artistic rendering of nature, which is the visual collaboration between the realms of art, craft, and design. This interconnection is in direct alignment with the mission of Form & Concept, a gallery in Santa Fe’s Railyard Art District that is breaking preconceived distinctions between these disciplines.
“I think we’re one of the few galleries that looks at craft from an overview,” says Frank Rose, Form & Concept’s gallery director. “We want to insert craft, design, and technology into the art conversation and explore their interrelationships. We don’t view these genres as separate from art, and we’d like to encourage others to view through this lens.”
The gallery has supported this overview through rotating exhibitions and temporary artist residencies, and has recently announced they are acquiring four stable artists whose work also embodies this vision. According to Rose, Mullins was a quick choice for representation as an artist whose career he’d been following from the beginning.
“The interrelationship of human design and ‘natural’ design explored in Matt’s art is a core expression of many craft-based works,” Rose explains. “I chose him to be represented by the gallery because I believe in his work and want to see him succeed as an artist.”
The overlaid patterns in Mullins’ paintings are derived from craft traditions such as quilt making and tiling. By combining these constructs with landscape painting, he is bringing craft and design into an artistically focused context, which motivates viewers to consider connections between the art forms.
“With craft makers, there is often a preconceived idea of what the end result will be,” says Mullins. “Art calls for more experimentation and intuitiveness. With my work, I have a general idea of two aspects: the outcome of the pattern and the painting of the landscape. The mystery then lies in the combination, bringing the two together.”
Form & Concept’s next opening will celebrate the four new artists, which in addition to Mullins are Wesley Anderegg, Heather Bradley, and Heidi Brandow. The event will take place on October 28th, 5-7pm in the gallery’s upstairs mezzanine.
Check out another blog on Matt's artistic process to learn more about the evolution of his pieces, from realistic underpaintings to intuitive pattern play.