Matt Lambert was born in Detroit Michigan and was raised between Metro
Detroit area and Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario Canada. The background
from urban Detroit and the wilderness in Canada has characterized his
artistic practice as well as hybrids, queer and chimeraism in all its
2014 he graduated from Cranbrook Academy of Art (MFA) in Michigan. Before
that he studied at Wayne State University, metals, ceramics, printmaking,
art history and psychology. During his practice he has been honoured
with several awards, grants and scholarships.
Occlusion of Gender Timothy Veske-McMahon, New York 2014
The crafting of queer identity is fundamentally different; it is a process
out of sync with the ado-lescent development of the body and mind, retarded
by cultural friction. It is in this way that queerness is enticing, in
its conscious decision (more truthfully an act of non-decision) to perform.
Matt Lambert's slippery shifting objects draw heavily from the regalia
of contemporary male homo-social spheres. They impart a (re)codified identity
precipitated from an atomized cloud of sport, hunting, and military references.
Protective gear, trophies, marks of rank, are just a few of the mechanisms
we extrapolate from these originating realms, which also cast a shadow-or
perhaps contain a back room-where the ostracism of queer identities coalesces
and rebounds in fetishized form.
Supple leather is conflated with the precision of laser-cut linkages to
create necklaces, or perhaps more rightfully, representations of necklaces.
The links themselves are reminiscent of sash chains, a type of chain with
a specified purpose, but within the stale amateur workshops of the everyman's
garage, basement, or shed it becomes one of many unspecified panaceas
for the maladies threatening the home, and by extension, the male psyche.
The forms created with these leather links drink from other waters as
well-as amassed strands of beads laden with cultural heft reference status,
wealth, and the storage of communal social information. In this capacity
they bridge material and functional gender expectations and project their
ability to codify the wearer collectively, in Lambert's objects the socially
scripted-game, hunt, and war-are channelled into the grandeur of identity's
performance. Here his work rubs up against and compound notions of the
body's presentation: its decoration, posturing, and placement. It is only
natural, then, that the experience of the body-performance-object because
subject through photographic documentation and portraiture. New layers
are encountered through the act of picturing. Robert Sokolowski1 stated
the three main elements of picturing: an object must be taken as a picture,
something must be valued in the picture, and there is a person who creates
the picture from the object. In this way, the photographs simultaneously
complicate and dissolve issues of gender relating to the use of the objects
themselves as we speculate on the identity and of the picture-taker and
their appreciation for the pictured objects.
We cannot overlook the intervention of the face as prevalent in Lambert's
work. Especially considering the involvement of portraiture with its focus
so keenly on face of its subject. These masks convey blurred origins that
ambiguously protect the wearer as well as conceal and alter identity.
One grouping seems particularly suspect, part protective cage, part animal
remnant, and effectively a decorative overlay. The lines creating the
masks' structure complicate our ability to recognize the face. They remain
symmetrical and face-like in composition, but they accomplish the feat
of clouding our ability to discern facial structure along binaries. This
buffering of perception changes our means of recognition and prepares
the viewer for plural understandings of the information (identity) presented
and to invent for themselves the queer possibilities behind the mask.