My work explores and elicits personal and shared experiences of feeling queer by investigating processes of becoming and adaptation through conceptual and experiential considerations of gender and sexuality. In my practice, I embrace and manipulate materials that have the visual capability to shift and transform their appearance depending on the viewer’s body and position in relation to the work. I create a spatial dynamism where each individual’s experience is uniquely their own—where the viewer and the work are reliant on each other. In this codependent performance, the gallery becomes a site where viewers can be projected into queer liminal space—a bridge between what is and what could be—and experience the promise of non-normative relationality to objects, others, and themselves. By harnessing the phenomenological knowledge and understanding of objects and materials in the world, I seek to explore how we have imposed meaning onto objects and how those objects function in relation to individual and collective experiences of queerness.
I hope to embrace the innate junctures of queer collaboration and community by asking my peers and chosen family a simple question: “What is a queer object to you?”
Reconciling with a different type of archive, I will investigate the accumulation and collection of queer experiences, otherness, grief, shame, guilt, melancholy, pleasure, loss, connectedness, asylum, exile, desire, hope, thrill, ecstasy, and pride. I propose reaching out to queer, trans and gender non-conforming people to share with me an object that—like a container—stores a feeling, a story, or an experience that contains a memory in the form of a memento. These objects can conjure a singular and personal experience, history, time, or place. The remarkable thing about being queer is what we lack in connections of generation, race, class, nationality, caste, geography, status, etc., is our ability to relate to one another through vicarious and shared experiences of community and care, carved out of otherness. Each work will amalgamate various objects, collaged together to create cyanotypes on a low thread count cotton or cheesecloth. These semi-transparent textiles paired with the cyanotype medium result in a phantom-like representation of the objects in question—they don’t exist physically. Rather, in the psyche, memory, and experiences of one or many.
My name is Tyler Matheson. I am a queer interdisciplinary research-based artist, educator, and culture worker residing in the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit (Port Credit). I received my BFA in Visual Arts and Art History at York University and MFA in Studio Art from the University of Waterloo. My work has been exhibited at Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario, Sudbury; The University of Waterloo Art Gallery; Above the Belt, Below the Bush with Minor Hockey Curatorial Collective, North Bay; Hamilton Artists Inc.; Art Gallery of Mississauga; Art Mûr, Montreal; and the plumb, Lonsdale Gallery, Gallery TPW, Stephen Bulger Gallery, and Trinity Square Video, all Toronto. I was the recipient of the Shantz International Research Scholarship and Superframe Framing Award in 2019. My work has been published in Femme Art Review, Peripheral Review, Off Centre, and dArt Magazine. My practice has been supported by the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.