Artist in Residence - Matt Pagett

While a student at Ohio State University, George Bellows contributed to, and appeared in, the annual yearbook in 1903 and 1904. Entitled The Makio, it was produced by students, and included society and team photos, caricatures of students and professors, humorous images of college life and other forms of college iconography. While at Ohio, Bellows also produced a university calendar. These works often drew from precedents in the popular, mass-market magazine illustration of the era, such as the work of Charles Dana Gibson.


Our artist in residence, Matt Pagett, is creating a 21st-century interpretation of the university calendar. Inspired by Bellows’s calendar and his contributions to The Makio and other Ohio publications, Matt is documenting all aspects of life on the University of Birmingham campus through a unique artistic lens. He is looking into staff and student communities, both formal and informal, high-profile or underground, and critiquing the University’s activities, cultures and traditions, including academic, social or sporting pursuits.


Matt begun his residency and research in September 2016. His work will be exhibited at the Barber Institute from May to September 2017 – so come along and see the final display. You can also meet Matt and find out more about the project – look out for talks and workshops throughout 2017.


Matt says…


“Certainty, uncertainty and the gaps in between are key themes in my work and to investigate them I use drawing, text and occasional public readings. Aesthetically, these investigations are indebted to the rise of the digital and I try to make them as beautiful as possible.”

“I feel an affinity with Bellows as, at various times, we have both had our feet in ‘commercial’ and ‘fine’ art camps. He was also committed to art as a democratic pursuit. More generally, the project appeals to my native Midland roots, as does the chance to show at the Barber, one of the most solid, confident galleries I’ve ever visited.”

“The work I’ll be exhibiting will be based on conversations with, observations of and research into the various groups of people that make the university what it is: an eco-system all of its own. Fictional narratives will coalesce and collide, imitating life on the other side of Edgbaston Park Road and beyond, weaving a slippery thread through one academic year.”


Planning and Research

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