There is a new art exhibit being displayed in the art building these past couple weeks. The work was created by the artist, Matt Drissell, a professor of arts at Dordt University. He has lived in Sioux Center for 13 years, and despite the fact that he teaches at Dordt, he is quite fond of Northwestern and the art building. On top of this, he is good friends with the majority of the art faculty here. So, for Matt it seemed quite natural to display his work here.
Before moving to the area, Drissell has lived in a variety of places like Chicago, New York City and Milwaukee. He majored in art and went on to also receive his masters.
The exhibit is entitled “Residue” and features two different collections that have some distinct overlaps between the two. One collection is a series of houses that line the neighborhood where he lives in Sioux Center. Along with these houses is a row of walnut trees. As the walnuts fall off of the trees and cars drive over them, they make a popping sound. This was the inspiration for many of the pieces. He decided to lay watercolor paper down and use his minivan to drive over walnuts and the paper. The results that you can see on the paper are the spots. He then goes and draws the houses on the pages with homemade walnut ink. The collection is entitled “Domestic Disturbance” because of how things have changed and been shaped overtime in his neighborhood.
The second collection adds a little more context to the first collection. They are all political ads that he layers on other images he finds to create the final product. He draws the crows that are present in the pieces on an iPad, adds in actual pictures that he has taken of walnuts and adds in the houses as well. All the elements that are seen are things that Drissell saw on a regular basis in his neighborhood.
The second collection is entitled “The Flock.” Combined, they create the illustration that what can be seen is often only surface level and that more lies beyond it, especially in light of the current politically divided time both locally and nationally.
Using walnuts to create art was not something new for Drissell. He first started working with them back in 2013 and left many of the created works sitting around. That was until he finally found the desire to finish the work and display it when he was asked to display his works at NW’s gallery.
When asked what he wants viewers to get out of his work, he said that he wants them to get out of it whatever they would like. He leaves it up to the eye of the beholder to decipher what they would like to see.
He would be happy if other artists saw his works as an opportunity to practice with other materials that might not typically be seen as art material. Especially when you link the place and context to the art, adding more meaning to the art in the process.
Drissell has a website with his work displayed. The best way to see the work is to make your way to the art building before Dec. 10, when the exhibit ends. Take a study break and go experience the art created by a local artist and maybe even find a little inspiration of your own.