Matthew A. Floriani

Artist Statement

A house is never as secure as it might appear. I have always felt an immediate connection to home, a place not only of comfort, but a place of order. But a closer look inside the cracks and windows might just reflect the erratic and volatile chaos of the outside world. The sense of order and control, in whatever form it takes, acts as a mask, a shelter, a protective façade, for those who live inside.

My recent house sculptures and ‘empty’ deer head illustrations suggest the complicated existence of what lies behind an architectural mask. Delving into notions of family and loss, these life-sized ‘portraits’ of houses and masks convey multiple levels of human emotion. Constructed out of wood, patterned fabric, nails, screws, metal, and thread, these structures are rendered to evoke a sense of comfort and domesticity through the use of fabric as covering, while others are presented in various states of disarray with architectural features broken down and de-constructed. These states of order and chaos are simultaneously present in each house to convey vulnerability in the place I find most safe.  

On the other hand, my illustrations of ‘empty’ deer heads symbolize three brothers, the inhabitants of the home. I employ a drawn form of collage to resemble domestic textiles, bed sheets, and tablecloths as a soft shield that protects in some ways and not in others, provoking a sense of vulnerability in the most regulated of spaces. The tension created through the juxtaposition of a lifeless mask, the bleakness of a hollow home, and the comforting fabric patterns leads to a questioning of what exactly is being protected.

A house is never as secure as it might appear. Behind closed doors lies something deeper and more complicated. Order and control seep into the cracks and hide side-by-side beneath the floorboards and barricades of the home.