Matthew Leavitt VS MFA Thesis 2013
Objects of Estrangement
This work exhibits my various responses to images of discrete objects in complete isolation—from the viewer, from other objects, from their environment, and from the past and future. This mode of display can be traced back to the Age of Enlightenment, when science took a dominant role in Western culture. The scientific mind, ostensibly rational and objective, is one that divides and separates. This tendency is evidenced by the conventions of composition in scientific display, now ubiquitous in the realms of art and commerce; the image of an object hovering in a seemingly endless white void is standard in product photography.
These images are far from objective, however; they offer a distorted view of reality, denying impermanence and all relatedness except between object and beholder, reinforcing the latter’s role as passive spectator. They suggest that the objects they depict are self-existing.
I utilize strangeness in my work to bring the viewer’s attention to the falseness of this isolating imagery. My objects are proofs-by-contradiction of the emptiness of things and, by proxy, of the viewer.
Beneath this work is a critique of the ideology packaged along with images of isolation.