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Human-like sculptures at Greenbelt Community Center


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Photo by Wanda Jackson. Matthew Janson’s mixed-media sculpture is titled “commodity god II.”

Photo by Wanda Jackson. Matthew Janson’s mixed-media sculpture is titled “commodity god II.”

Published on: Wednesday, March 27, 2013

By Wanda Jackson

Artist Matthew Janson loves to create stories and describes his sculpture as “reminiscent of the groundbreaking worldwide exhibition ‘Body Worlds.’”

“Body Worlds” exhibited human-donor bodies preserved in life-like poses through plastination, a process created by German scientist and physician Gunther von Hagens that replaces the natural fluids in the body with reactive plastics that are initially pliable, and then harden after infusion. The life-like poses illustrate how the body internally and externally responds to everyday movements.

There are no human-donor bodies in Janson’s work.

However, his colorful figurative works “will pique the curiosity of viewers of all ages — especially those with a taste for science fiction,” according to the Greenbelt Community Center, where Janson’s works are on view through April 12.

Janson’s show titled “Incarnate” features 10 three-dimensional, mixed-media figures.

His three “commodity god” works conjure characters like aliens and humanoid robots. Measuring approximately 22-inches-by-8-inches-by-11-inches, the chunky, organic structures incorporate foam, steel, paint, photographs, wax and polystyrene. The structures subtly suggest commodity and mobility.

Inside the goopy, messy piece, “bedsprings bust II,” is more goop and mess. Atop a pedestal, pink and green-colored wax and foam hang from what looks like tangled metal coils from the underside of a couch or mattress. It suggests furnishings.

Other works invoke what Janson describes as “tombstones for a cemetery that has turned carnival” and “an up-close, colorful, detailed, opened and closed and multiplied menu of the body.”

Janson’s exhibition history includes shows at the Baltimore Museum of Art as a finalist for the 2010 and 2012 Sondheim Prize, the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Baltimore’s Theater Project and Soo-Vac in Minneapolis.

Janson received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, Minn., in 2005. There, he later held positions as assistant gallery director and sculpture technician.

In 2009, he received a Master of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he was a student in the Mount Royal Studio Program.

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