“Intuition can be so much more complex than the triangulation kind of thinking.”
Matthew Ronay is a sculptor living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, he went on to earn a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA from Yale University. His surreal sculpture work, once bright, bold and even cartoonish, has taken on a newer, more intuitive and even spiritual direction.
“I get really excited in the isolation of what I do. I enjoy my studio time and trying to make something earnest.”
Matthew’s work explored dualities: male/female, life/death, reality/unreality. He has become interested in shamanism, and the roles of mysticism, intuition and imagination become increasingly important and evident in his work.
Another recurring theme is is isolation, something Matthew takes very seriously when it comes to working. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Matthew talks about meditation, specifically floating, and spent time experimenting with sensory deprivation. He completely immerses himself in his work, concentrating on the importance of being alone with one’s thoughts when making art.
His earlier work, however, was overtly sexual, political and humorous, and full of cultural commentary. Ronay eventually abandoned his early colorful style, developing more “integrated and muted environments”. Growing up, Matthew looked to his father, a businessman who also made marble sculptures, and artist Paul Fields, whom many of his friends trained with. He also cites Joseph Cornell as an early inspiration, an influence evident in Matthew’s spacial creations.
Ronay’s recent interest in Alan Watts, Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung plays a large part in the direction of his new work. In Artinfo he likens making the work to “marking time and transferring energy.” He calls his process repetitive and calming, only interspersed with moments of improvisation.
Matthew also emphasizes a connection with use. Usefulness is what separates the whimsical and imaginative with the shamanistic, as Shamanism implies a certain usefulness that excites the artist.
For Matthew Ronay’s installation at Andrea Rosen Gallery, titled “Between the Worlds”, the artist built an immersive primordial forest complete with mythological beings. The spacial sculpture work, made from papier-mâché, wood, and paint, was meant to remove the viewer from their own realities and replace them with inherited memory and shared mythologies.