Courtesy Matt Wedel

On exhibit: ‘Matt Wedel: On the Verge’ at the LSU Museum of Art

LSU Museum of Art, through September 29

Some of Ohio artist Matt Wedel’s ceramic sculptures are so massive that the LSU Museum of Art had to call in a structural engineer to make sure the building could properly support them. Weighing more than a ton and measuring up to 6½ feet high, these towering creations push the boundaries of what can be crafted from clay.

It was this unique form of expression—along with his most recent work with colorful wall sculptures—that prompted the museum and the LSU School of Art to select Wedel as the school’s Reilly Visiting Artist for this year. In conjunction with an extended residency during which Wedel worked closely with LSU art students—and went through 1,000 pounds of clay in a single weekend—the LSU Museum of Art launched the exhibition “Matt Wedel: On the Verge” in April.

Matt Wedel (right) with one of his largest sculptures at the “On the Verge” opening. Photo by Lily LaGrange.

“Wedel’s scale and the way he uses porcelain make you question what these sculptures are made of, compelling you to look more closely,” says museum curator Courtney Taylor. “Ceramics of this caliber shouldn’t be missed.”

The exhibition features two large-scale sculptures, nine pedestal works and seven wall sculptures in the main gallery, along with two additional pieces in the museum lobby. “The show includes a new body of wall sculptures that really explore color and gesture,” Taylor says. “In a way, they further break down the barriers between painting, ceramics and sculpture that other works in the exhibition allude to.”

Taylor says museum visitors shouldn’t miss the abstracted petals on the small “Flower Tree” sculptures, or the backs of the large-scale plinth works that are newly adorned with glaze in a painterly manner that she calls “stunning.”

“Matt Wedel is a rising star in the art world,” Taylor notes. “We’re lucky to have such an amazing artist here in Baton Rouge, at such a creatively charged, experimental time in his career.”