Layers of Place
My artwork aims to express layered substance about our environment and culture – not just the inherent or perceived beauty of place.
I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley of California surrounded by large-scale agricultural production beneath the highest reaches of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This underserved region challenged with socioeconomic, ecological and environmental concerns played a significant role toward my creative inquiry of how human constructs of land shape our experience of place.
In an effort to build meaning within my connection to land, my work embodies physical aspects of landscape through personal narrative. To do this, I begin my work with logistic and navigational research and then carryout adventurous topographic field research involving extended cross-country hiking, mountaineering, field drawing and photography. In the studio I compile this field work and often follow up with ecological inquiry, ethnographic and historic inquiry. This all builds into substance, significance, sophistication and embodied mapping, setting the stage for the formation of a graphic expression to evolve. To make things more entangled though, sometimes all this work happens out of order with months or years in between steps or several separate field outings may take place to support a graphic idea.
My approach toward visual expression is primarily generated through lithography and occasionally etching and screen printing. These are all graphic processes that enable me to express creative inquiry in a layered format where each layer is encoded with place-based research and meaning. Digital tools have also been integral in my work in a variety of ways. My artistic practice stems from doctrines and discourse of the Romantic landscape tradition and environmental philosophy, which undoubtedly continues to shape our perception and experience of land and place.¬¬
Matthew Rangel can be reached through his website rangelstudio.com. For inquires regarding the purchase of any art on display in the gallery please speak with gallery staff.