Past Residents

Matthew Bacher

Matthew Bacher’s work addresses the simultaneous fetishization and disposability of nature. His pieces depict nature's “pests,” such as pigeons and raccoons staking their own claim to altered environments. In the piece Pigeons and Hipsters, the two subjects share and exploit the crowded urban cityscape. They are both equally the result of their environment. Matthew enjoys creating specific instances where human paths cross with those of animals. While humans create fences and walls to suppress their fears of nature, wildlife struggles as their habitats are bombarded by plastics, rusting metals and cracking concrete. His landscapes yearn to be explored and plundered fervently. He paints beautiful trash and hideous flowers in an attempt to blur our assigned values of each. Matthew plays with the idea of the total desecration of the natural world and invites the viewer to draw parallels between our environments and theirs. The work explores environmental problems we face such as pollution, overpopulation, and climate change. In his work there is a duality of consuming and caring for one's surroundings. In End Game Loot for the Juncos, Matthew examines the Dark-eyed Junco, a common bird of North America. This bird species is primarily migratory, yet a large flock defied norms and seized permanent residency at UC San Diego during the mid-1980s. The Juncos are able to thrive due to the abundance of food and human spoilage scattered throughout the campus. The abundance of food, in turn, allows them to produce more young and live longer.

The inspiration for his work is born from Matthew’s travels to new places. He reflects on trips to large densely populated cities. Despite cities' attempts to suppress the natural world, plant and animal invaders abound. Matthew incorporates aves (birds) into his works, as they are one of the few large wild animal groups that can adapt fast enough to survive the drastic changes humans make to their natural environments. Birds are aided by mini environments such as backyards and garbage dumps. Traveling allows the artist to explore new environments that provide for varying species of flora and fauna, such as parks, college campuses and back yards. He take these environments and deconstructs. Doing this allows the artist to reflect on his own personal connection with nature as well as his impact on the environment. He thinks about his own impact on the natural world.

Matthews’s main focus is in drawing and painting. He utilizes their history of storytelling and their capacity to engage with narrative. He specifically uses dramatic lighting, loose brush strokes, and stark flat planes keeping the viewer interested in not only the subject matter but also the material. An incorporation of organic and inorganic shapes and brush strokes creates the illusion of order and chaos within the pieces. These material objects demand focus and labor which refreshingly contrast an era consumed with instant gratification.

Matthew is also interested in curating. Through his job teaching painting at drawing to children and adults at the San Diego Music and Art Cooperative, Matthew is able to bring artists together. Matthew believes that only through conversation can we work on issues within our own communities. Matthew believes artifacts can serve as a tool to facilitate these conversations. Matthew insists that art has a means to transgress the status quo and can make it easier for people to take in a new perspective.