Matthew Spencer is interested in how our world is represented to us through simulated images in the media and how these in turn form our comprehension of the world around us, basing his pieces on images from the media and internet. His works are cynical of utopian notions surrounding our relationship with the natural world, effectively combining medium, process and aesthetics as message.
The medium-density fibreboard, household paint and painstakingly slow hand cutting process that he uses gives the work a raw abandoned aesthetic, creating scenes which depict gritty disenchanted visions of man-made structures and waste in woods and forests.
Spencer takes the craftsmanship of woodcarving to the extreme by meticulously hand cutting elaborate patterns into sheets of wood in the style of the Computer Numerical Control laser/router machines which are used in much modern manufacturing. He is interested in the contrast between such contemporary processes, materials, media, internet and the mark of the individual and traditional.
He begins with drilling out the spaces in between the branches, with fret saw blades held between his fingers he cuts out the fine detailing and uses a jigsaw to finish the process. Cutting the outline of trees and branches into sheets of MDF, which ironically is not real wood. It is a man-made material, which in some respects is part of the tongue-in-cheek humour he uses.
In over embellishing the obvious issues in his work, he also raises important questions about the nature and scope of knowledge.
Check out Matthew Spencer's Art Prize interview with FAD Magazine.