Daily Special

Hans Schmitt Matzen
2018 | 10mm white neon tubes, GTO wire, electronic transformer | 35x29 | $5000

Philosophy, physics, and child-like wonder are all wrapped within the work of Nashville artist Hans Schmitt Matzen. The beginnings of his neon sign wall sculptures are often influenced by the simple and seemingly non-sense drawings by his two young sons who are basically tiny philosophers in the making. Schmitt Matzen observes something deeper from their unbridled, intuitive sense of play that is seemingly lost throughout adulthood. Making these and his own drawings into neon lights, philosophy, and physics take their cue.

Oracle tells the tale of Schmitt Matzen’s rendezvous with Empedocles’ (Greek, 490-420 BC) proclamation that “The nature of God is a circle of which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere.” Of the piece he writes, “Circles are simultaneously embodiments of both the finite and the infinite depending on the way you choose to think about them. Can a shape ever hope to be an adequate metaphor for the divine?” Taking it a step further, he considers the closed-circuit the neon lights require­– it’s a circle of continuity, giving and taking, and materials necessitating the form. That’s deep.

Lessons learned today: philosophy is hard and kids are smart. Unfurrow your brow. Maybe philosophy isn’t your thing but Hans Schmitt Matzen’s work definitely can be. You can see a large scale installation of his work in Nashville on the Fairfax Flats building, or check out his impressive body of works on his website hansschmittmatzen.com.

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