Hallmark Art Collection


Art Collection


Matthias Merkel Hess

(American, born 1978)
Crates, 2011

glazed stoneware, 9 elements, smallest 12 x 13 1/2 x 13 1/2; largest 12 x 20 3/4 x 14 inches

Matthias Merkel Hess finds his subject matter in common utilitarian objects that we often take for granted. In particular, he focuses his attention on the mass produced plastic goods that define our contemporary culture. Using the natural material of clay, Hess crafts handmade replicas of trash cans, paint buckets, milk crates, and other mundane plastic objects, creating sculptures that transcend their original function. Through this material transformation, his modern containers take their place within a long and ancient tradition of ceramic vessel making. Adorned with colorful and exotic glazes, his crates become objects of aesthetic contemplation rather than practical use, inviting us to reconsider the environmental impact of the many things we manufacture and consume.

I make objects, sometimes big, physical things, so I’m trying to understand both my own interest in objects and how we value them as humans.

From a statement by the artist for Hallmark Art Collection.
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Matthias Merkel Hess, Still Life, Culture, Pop Art, Social Commentary, Superrealism, Sculpture, Ceramic, 2010s,