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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Matthew Dercole

Matthew Dercole

Artist Statement

I develop story lines stemming from the exploration of our relationships with ideas and imagery that are often overlooked, taken for granted, sometimes disturbing, and usually misunderstood.  Within these stories, I approach and investigate the dull, banal, and the obvious aspects of everyday life with a new curiosity.

The exploration of the self, the understanding of others, and the dynamics they create are an underlying theme throughout my work. Drawing from a fascination of biology, I create forms based on principles of nature coupled with the experience of thought and feeling. The works become combinations of the natural progression of life, such as growth and decomposition, and the human aspects of reason and ability.  I am reacting to the way people think and feel about their identities, how the act of learning and the responsibility of knowledge affect our everyday lives.

I approach my work from the point of view of a story.  Thinking of stories and books and how they elicit imagery, I incorporate illustration by means of a narrative series of sculpture.  I have been utilizing the written word in the form of short stories and experimenting with bookbinding to add the element of the narrative to the pieces.  The sculptures are made with the idea of a more visual approach to storytelling, while the actual writings, or sometimes drawings, are there to compliment the work and give further insight.

i received my BA in Studio Art in Ceramics with a minor in Art History from Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg PA.  i then attended the University of Iowa where i earned an MFA in Ceramics, with minors in Drawing and Metalsmithing.

After graduating, i moved to Philadelphia and took a work study position in the galleries at The Clay Studio.

i took the position of the Resident Artist in Ceramics at the Lux Center for the Arts in Lincoln NE from Aug 2010-Aug 2011.  while there, i taught a Ceramics course for Doane College in Lincoln, as well as  children and adult classes at the Lux Center.

From Sept 2011- Aug 2012 i was the Artist in Residence in Ceramics at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago, IL. where i taught ceramics classes and worked on a new body of work.

i am currently Resident Artist and Crew Member for Chicago artist Theaster Gates and Rebuild Foundation.


University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
M.F.A Art Studio – Ceramics Minor in Drawing
Aug. 2008-May 2009

University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
M.A. Art Studio-Ceramics Minor in Metal smithing
Aug.2006- May 2008

Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA
B.A. Art Studio-Ceramics Minor in Art History
June 1998-May 2003


Resident Artist/Crew Member for Theaster Gates and Rebuild Foundation, Chicago IL  Sept 2012-present

Instructor of Community Art classes, Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago IL   Sept 2011-Aug 2012

Instructor of Community Art Classes in Ceramics, Lux Center for the Arts, Lincoln, NE Sept. 2010-Aug 2011

Instructor, Doane College, Lincoln, NE Aug 2010-Aug 2011

After School Program Teacher, Family Learning Center, Lincoln NE

Teaching Assistant, Ceramics Department, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Aug. 2008- May 2009

Instructor of Record, Ceramics Department, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Aug.2006 – May 2008

Woodshop Monitor, University of Iowa, Iowa City IA
Jan.2007-May 2009



Best in Show, Masur Museum of Art 49th Annual Juried Competition


Merit Award, Bibliophoria II, National juried book arts show


Award of Distinction, 2009 Art Kudos International Juried Art Competition and Exhibition

Special Recognition, 8th Annual Summer All Media Juried Online Art Exhibit

Research Assistant Fellowship, University of Iowa, IA


University of Iowa Arts Fellowship

Teaching Assistantship, Ceramics I, University of Iowa


Wilhelm and Jane Bodine Fellowship

Teaching Assistantship, Ceramics I, University of Iowa


Teaching Assistantship, University of Iowa

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