Matthew Batty

Reservoir.Fountain.Lake

Reservoir.Fountain.Lake is an ongoing public intervention reestablishing daily connections between communities and their local water resources.

Water fountains, gold frame, photographs of Monroe Reservoir, 2016-Present

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Statement

Raised on folklore of the American south, and legends like Davy Crockett, my work explores the nature culture divide through the lures of capitalist American myths of rugged masculinity, bootstrapping, and never-ending resources. The world is not our oyster. Those myths have misled to the belief that humanity has dominion over all things; the basis of people’s relationship with the earth is of presumed disconnection and ownership. However, humanity has always been interconnected with the world and its natural resources. The aim of my trans-disciplinary practice is to reconcile that humanity is in and of the world through the creation of installations I prefer to call ecologies of naturecultures.

Inspired by the landscape of my southern upbringing, I create muddy narratives built on the questioning of what that interconnectedness means in contemporary American culture: a complex tangle of in-betweens, raising backyard chickens, streaming music, farmers’ markets and Amazon deliveries. People crave both the slow and the fast. Our material culture and constructed environments reflect it. Humanity reshapes the environment comparatively to beavers, as they chew on the trunks of trees and redistribute resources from the surrounding landscape to create new ecosystems. Humanity affects the land and water systems it thrives on. How do we begin to show restraint, and practice a critical conscientiousness to better navigate warmer climates and rising waters? Can people begin to see the world in new ways leading humanity onto a new course of being in and of the world? I explore the blending of ideas, processes, and materials to reorient how humanity interacts, adapts to, and transforms the ecology and landscapes that surround us. By imagining and enacting processes and relations of connection through digital projections, sound, sculpture, found objects, and print, my work examines how humanity can consciously exist in these new ecologies.

 

Biography

Matthew Batty was raised near the bayous of Louisiana, and the inlets of South Central Florida. Their artistic practice is as diverse as the landscapes and ecologies that they are aimed at protecting, ranging from video, installation, social interventions, sculpture and printmaking. Matthew's work explores themes of environmentalism, the false division of nature and culture through American identities and myths of Manifest Destiny. The artist creates immersive installations that capitalize upon the muddiness of the in between to create new ecologies and visions of coexistence. Matthew Batty received a BFA in Studio Art at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. They recently completed the MFA program at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Batty has received recognition for their practice through Grants-In-Aid while at Indiana University, and has been selected as an artist-in-residence at The Birdsell Projects in South Bend. Batty also maintains an active curatorial practice, curating exhibitions such as Extended Family at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as shows at experimental spaces like The Breezeway Gallery, The Fuller Projects, and The WoodYard Projects.