Sheet Cake by Mathew Dercole

Sheet Cake by Mathew Dercole


Terra cotta, pigmented wax, polymer clay, ink, resin

About the Work from the Artist:

This piece is from a small series dealing with a loss of appetite and general discontent with necessity. I am working through thoughts about the act of overthinking and how it affects actions. I decided to start with simplicity and necessity, as they are often the most contemplated aspects of my daily routine. A loss of appetite is a state of mind, but food is a necessity.

Asexual appetite, the name of the series, is simply referring to the ambiguous. the expected but seemingly impossible. the necessary for the sake of being necessary. the idea of choice and the lack of want. That upon closer inspection, things that we want or need may not have the qualities we expect, or are simply unappetizing. Asexuality can be taken here in a general way as a lack of desire. I used worms in these pieces mainly for the sake of an unappetizing food source and have used them in other sculptures for varying reasons. 

All of that boils down to the fact that I wanted to make pieces that visually represented a loss of appetite, an unappealing snack or food item that is edible, but unappetizing. The subtle lie of this piece is being drawn in and repelled within a few seconds of realizing what you are looking at and what you thought something was. 

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Matthew's emotional and sometimes disturbing sculptures incorporate illustrational and narrative qualities, reflecting the viewers' own psychological complexities. The work is an attempt to highlight our instinctual behavior in regard to everyday aspects of our lives, creating a starting point for a dialogue based on our intentions and our actions.

Matthew received his MFA in Ceramics from the University of Iowa. He has held positions as Work Study at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia, and studio staff at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts. He has participated as Artist in Residence at the Lux Center for the Arts in Lincoln NE, Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago IL, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg TN. Matthew has worked for Chicago artist Theaster Gates and Rebuild Foundation and has held Instructor positions in ceramics at multiple art centers and universities across the US. 

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