Andy Mattern is a conceptual artist who uses familiar objects as a source of inspiration. Bending the rules of traditional still-life photography, Mattern’s work is often both self-referential to the medium of photography and to traditional art historical themes and movements. By building upon these themes and negating stereotypical elements commonly associated with this practice, the artist explores ideas of representation and pushes the boundaries of photographic cliché and methodology.
Mattern is most well-known for his still-life photographs of modified or out-of-context objects; namely packages of photographic paper in Standard Size and analog photo-computers in Average Subject/Medium Distance. The inception of these bodies of work began with the series Standard Size when Mattern started cutting, sanding, and using masking tape to remove distracting elements found on the photo paper boxes in his studio. He then photographed his modifications straight on and printed them to match their original scale. The resulting series explores a multidisciplinary and a conceptual art-inspired approach to contemporary photography and blurs the lines between the documentary and the abstract.
Andy Mattern was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1979. He holds an MFA in Photography from the University of Minnesota and a BFA in Studio Art from the University of New Mexico. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and has been featured recently at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the New Mexico Museum of Art, Minnesota Museum of American Art, and Silver Eye Center for Photography. Mattern’s work has been featured and reviewed in a variety of publications including ARTFORUM, The New Yorker, L’oeil de la Photographie (The Eye of Photography), and Float Magazine. He has been the recipient of various accolades including grants from the Oklahoma Visual Art Coalition and the Minnesota State Arts Board and was awarded a Juror’s Pick at the Daylight Photo Awards. Mattern’s work is held within the permanent collections of SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the BMO Harris Bank, Minneapolis, MN; the Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle, WA; and the Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN. Notably, Mattern is an Associate Professor of Photography at Oklahoma State University, where he instituted the first fine art photography program in the university’s history.