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My primary goal as an artist is to make compelling and engaging work that contributes to, challenges, and expands discourses around themes of social justice such as race, gender, class, and privilege. For example, in a piece (see image MattNeff4, Untitled) that I exhibited at my 2014 show, Second Sight, the simple materials of draped tracing paper covered in graphite take on the now unmistakably ominous imagery of a black hoodie, a potent visual commentary on the brutal murder of Trayvon Martin. In newer pieces (MattNeff1, MattNeff2, MattNeff3) previously discarded found and assembled objects take on the abstracted sculptural images of a lifeless form on the ground, flooded by the muddled lights of both the police and the community’s protests, a reflection of the ongoing struggle in Ferguson, MO. These pieces, fueled in many ways by my role as parent to a young black male, speak to the politics of race in America, particularly the dangers of inhabiting a black body.
Last updated: Feb 24, 2016