Heath Matysek-Snyder – Life Boat for a Dead Tree

Two by Two-Life Boats For A Dead Tree_White Ark_detail

“Life Boat for a Dead Tree”, White oak, nails, rope, plywood, 48” x 89” x 24”, 2014, $5000


Whether or not the Earth is overpopulated is up for debate (just as global climate change is…?) and the “facts” about population/overpopulation get spun to fit the agenda of the speaker. That said I try to look at what’s “in front” of me and make logical observations. Intuitively, overpopulation seems to be a problem from both humanitarian and environmental standpoints. In both cases I find “us” (as humans) to be the real problem…and the solution. I am the eternal optimist, I am empathetic and I believe in humans. “We” (collectively) have the ability to show sincere compassion and absolute brilliance but our history also shows that we harvest our resources until we exhaust them, we pollute our surroundings and then we move on to do it again. We manifest Aristotle’s idea of the Tragic Hero quite systematically. We are ingenious. We are flawed. We are complex.

“Two by Two: Life Boats for a Dead Tree” is comprised of three elements; the Boat/Ark forms, the Tree cut into two sections and the Condoms. Each of the three components represent different but overlapping ideas to promote a dialogue and ask questions of the viewer. Two by Two, examines, but is not limited, to themes of Human Invention and Survival, Designed and Engineered Solutions, Human Dominance over the Natural World, Exhaustion and Extinction of Natural Resources and the Human Waste Stream.


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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHeath Matysek-Snyder is an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), in The Department of Craft/Material Studies, where he is the Head of the Wood Area. He earned his BFA from VCU in 2000 and his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004. Heath has been an Artist-in-Residence at San Diego State University, Designed Objects Tasmania, in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia and at the Emma International Collaboration, in Ness Creek, Saskatchewan. Before teaching at VCU he was the Head of the Wood Program at UW-Madison from 2009-2012 during which time he co-founded Drift Studio, a design studio and product incubator, in 2010. Heath has taught workshops at Oregon College of Arts and Crafts and will be teaching a summer workshop at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in June 2014. He actively exhibits nationally and internationally and his pieces appear in the permanent collections of the Madison Children’s Museum, the Madison Central Public Library and the Royal Hobart Hospital among others. Much of his current work investigates the bundling, stacking and clustering of materials into and around forms. This grouping of materials takes shape as furniture, as installation and as interior-architecture. Heath is intrigued by the visual patterns and textures of stacked materials and his most recent work explores themes of place and identity by embedding meaningful objects and artifacts within stacks of firewood.

To learn more about Heath Matysek-Snyder’s work visit his website: www.heathms.com