"I grew up assisting my dad who is a commercial photographer, but I never thought about pursuing photography as a career until I moved to New York to study. It could even be the opposite of rebellion considering the history of the medium. Photography was invented and initially practiced by a group of scientists. They put different materials together by chance and experimented with them."
Calling his approach "a little bit messy and experimental," Matthew Brandt produces large-scale photographs through labor-intensive processes recalling the 19th-century origins of photography, often incorporating the physical matter of the subject itself. Attuned to the history of his medium — and its resolute physicality — and inspired by classical American landscape photographs, Brandt traverses the West, photographing and collecting material samples from nature and cities. The reciprocal relationships that Brandt creates between his subjects and the materials used to represent them are always conceptually grounded, often in response to social and environmental issues. He is deeply inquisitive, even fearless, in his exploration of subjects, materials, and processes, reinvigorating the medium of photography with a sense of wonder.
Through his work, Brandt poses a fundamental question about his magical-seeming medium: what is a photograph?
Matthew Brandt received his BFA from Cooper Union in 2004 and MFA from UCLA in 2008. Brandt has been the subject of recent institutional solo shows at the Columbus Museum of Art; Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah. Recent group exhibitions include What is a Photograph? at the International Center of Photography, New York; The Magic Medium at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Second Chances at the Aspen Art Museum and Land Marks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Armand Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum of Art; Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art; Cincinnati Art Museum; North Carolina Museum of Art and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, among others. Brandt is shortlisted this year for the prestigious Prix Pictet award and will have his work showcased in an exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in November 2015. Notable press includes reviews and profiles in ARTFORUM, Art in America, The New Yorker and Modern Painters. Matthew Brandt lives and works in Los Angeles.