The Fancy World by Matt Paweski

If there was ever a time when artists and designers could remain shrouded, Wizard of Oz-like, behind a curtain of mystery and intrigue, that time — partly thanks to sites like ours — is almost certainly past. Granted most artists still don’t have their own websites, and most of their galleries are pitiful at conveying background info, but this being the information age, some blogger or curator never fails to come along and connect the dots. In the case of Matt Paweski, it may very well end up being Sight Unseen that gets to do the honors. While the Los Angeles–based artist is showing an exciting new body of work called “The Fancy World” at South Willard at the moment, so far there’s very little to be gleaned about him anywhere online. We fell so in love with the new pieces, which are furniture-like in form if not entirely in function, that we set the wheels in motion for a more in-depth studio visit with Paweski in the spring.You’ll get to know him better at that point, but for now, the Michigan-born talent was kind enough to tell us more about “The Fancy World,” whose pieces are pictured in this post: “The fine line between something working or not is a place my work constantly returns to,” he says. “For one, with color — it can go bad so fast, and I’ve always been fascinated with the point at which something gorgeous becomes gaudy. I try to keep things constantly teetering between those two places. I grew up in the prefab Southwest so I have a deep appreciation for mauve and what it can do next to pale turquoise and copper, while being totally horrible at the same time. The works in The Fancy World are my first attempt at making furniture with this thin line in mind. I like the idea of bringing together funk and usefulness. One thing is odd and flashy, and the other is calculated and simple. That’s the place I find most interesting.”

Matt Paweski’s current obsessions:
Lace-to-toe roofer boots
H.C. Westermann
Georgia O’Keefe
Ken Price’s curve
Frank Lloyd Wright
Peter Shire tea pots
Rare Somali cacti
The Shakers
Natalie du Pasquier textiles
Vincent Fecteau sculptures
The Chicago Imagists, specifically Christina Ramberg, Jim Nutt, and Roger Brown