Painter and sculptor Matthew Mullins exhibits his new show, The Stars in Our Bones, at form & concept (5-7 pm Friday Sept. 28. Through Nov. 17. Free. 435 S Guadalupe St., 982-8111) this week, and we wanted to know more. Some of his paintings show stellar vistas paired with human anatomy; others lay abstract forms atop natural landscapes. His sculptures, meanwhile, are vivid and moving, showing off the curves and shapes of metal-glazed wood.
Some of your pieces combine geometry and natural imagery. Why, and how?
I want to paint more of my experiences of these places rather than what they look like through photography. All of the paintings come from photos that I take, but I don't just want to copy a photograph. The pattern gives an extra layer of information. It creates a rhythm in addition to the photograph imagery that helps describe my experience better. … I want my art to be in tune with the other things in my life that give me joy, I'm trying to tie art with everything else that I love.
I'm a fan of your Graphite on Found Wood sculptures. How did you do that, and how long did it take?
It's a very simple process, but very time-intensive. The found wood comes from ridges and summits, where the wind and the sun twists it into these shapes. I just take pencils and vigorously rub the graphite from the pencils into the wood. The pressure from the pencils burnishes the wood and cleans out all of the dirt and smooths it out into a different kind of surface. I cover every single wood fiber with graphite, so your eye can't find a single spot where it's obviously wood. It creates a transformative surface. The graphite accentuates all the details of the wood.
What pieces are you showing at form & concept? Is there an overarching theme?
The theme is trying to make art that can connect the viewer with nature and the cosmos. A lot of pieces in the show are about how the materials in our own body are made of the stars, and how the elements that give us life and the ability to have consciousness come from the stars. I'm really trying to drive that point home. The title of the show, The Sun in Our Bones, comes from a poem by poem by Nayyirah Waheed, and really conveys what I'm trying to do with art.