Matthias Merkel Hess was born in 1978 in Cedar Rapids, IA. Today he lives and works in Los Angeles. He achieved his MFA at the University of California, Los Angeles. He’s exhibited in cities such as Chicago, Seattle, New York and Minneapolis.
Hess recently exhibited with Artsy at the FOG Design + Art 2015 fair in San Francisco (Jan. 15 — 18).
Artsy describes his work:
“Matthias Merkel Hess’s project is to make ceramic objects that relate to both contemporary art and the history of pottery. He calls himself an artist and a potter (claiming not to like the word “ceramicist” because it ends in “cyst”), though he also makes drawings, posters, and conceptual objects. He is most famous for creating ceramic casts of functional, everyday plastic containers, such as crates, jugs, and buckets; Hess confesses to having particular attraction to retro or vintage Rubbermaid products, which are staples in his studio for mixing glazes. Among his best-known works are brightly colored 40-gallon trashcans in the “Brutes” series (2010). Hess also uses his body as a tool for making works, particularly in a series of bowls fashioned from the imprint of his knee, as well as through use of his “One Merkel Ruler”, a straight-edge the length of his arm.”
Hess creates ceramic objects that are grounded in the familiar, things we see around our houses every day. However, the smoothness of the edges, the psychedelic liquid sheen of the glaze, forces us to see these typical objects in a new way, causing an appreciation of both the hand of the artist and the design of the familiar. Anyone who can make a Styrofoam beer cooler look intriguing is worth your notice.
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