by Mat Gleason

“An hour out of Tucson it is, unsurprisingly, a desert. But Matt Mays has labored to ensure that at least fifteen acres of it were not going to be a cultural desert. There, his unnamed sculpture park and arboretum are a safe space for eccentric thought and expression.

His sculptures there stand with the same ambition as work by the modernist masters like David Smith and Alexander Calder; there is a pride in their grand upright scale. But they are equally the heirs of H.C. Westermann and Robert Arneson with their analytic attitude and unapologetic humor. Composed with a verticalilty to rival a Giacometti, each of these works are crowned with ribald metal Americana.

In the middle of nowhere stands an homage to Duchamp’s bicycle wheel, but nobody needs an art history degree to appreciate what Matt Mays has done. The sense of freedom is underscored with a recurring theme of flight be it with a sculpted airplane, long-unplugged parts of metal fans or even a tricycle sprouting wings, Peter Pan style.

Back at the studio, Mays brings the same disciplined carnival barker aesthetic to his ongoing series of large totemic wood sculptures. There is an anthropomorphic expressionism powering these lean weirdos. Evidence of the artist’s hand abound, but the wickedness of his imagination is what runs these creatures on.”

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