Exhibitions

The Invisible King: Hans Schmitt-Matzen



The Carlos Gallery in the Nabit Art Building at the University of the South is pleased to present The Invisible King, an exhibition of photographs and sculptures by Nashville artist Hans Schmitt-Matzen.

In juxtaposing the media of painting, photography, and sculpture—the natural and the man-made—Hans Schmitt-Matzen’s work suggests a universal gestural language that may exist in the form of a waterfall, the spine of a book, or the stoke of a brush.

In The Invisible King, Schmitt-Matzen translates the drawings of his two young sons into larger wall sculptures.  The sustained process of deciphering his children’s innate language of marks allows him to discover shared aspects of the human condition and gain a greater understanding of what they think and feel. Often these collaborative creations are realized as neon signs, a grand medium designed for announcements within the public sphere.  The neon artworks are essentially light drawings, poetic non-objects that harness a symbol of the sublime and unruly.  Schmitt-Matzen states, “Light is the fastest thing that we know and that makes it a perfect metaphor for representing fleeting moments of comprehension.”

Other pieces in the exhibition originate from drawings made by his own hand while he attempts to absorb his children’s unrestricted sense of play. He states, “I work as they work, and generate hundreds of simple line drawings.  I make selections from these drawings looking for forms that are simultaneously identifiable as signifiers and yet mysteriously unreadable. I talk to my boys about their interpretations of the lines and those conversations guide many decisions.” Often the final works are made from wood and sculpture compounds to appear as though they were relics of an ancient time. They are like stone ciphers meant to decode some enduring universal message.

Hans Schmitt-Matzen received his BFA from Middle Tennessee State University with an emphasis in painting and a minor in philosophy. His work has recently been exhibited in group shows at MDR in Germany, Like the Spice Gallery in Brooklyn, Track 13 Gallery and Zeitgeist Gallery in Nashville, Salisbury University Gallery in Baltimore. He has had solo exhibitions at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, David Lusk Gallery, Nashville International Airport, and Material. Schmitt-Matzen often collaborates with Brooklyn, NY based photographer Gieves Anderson and is actively involved in curatorial work for both private clients and public institutions. He was a board member of Fugitive Projects, and was a founding member of COOP Gallery. Since 2004, Schmitt-Matzen has been a staff member of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, where he currently holds the position of assistant director of internal affairs.

Artist Talk and Opening Reception Friday, January 19, 5:30 p.m. 



Carlos Gallery in the Nabit Art Building