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Matthew O'Reilly | Shed Self

Steffl Gallery | May 31–September 12

Ceramic artist Matthew O’Reilly embraces satire to generate conversation about the human condition, including the notion of inner growth and change. O’Reilly constantly reinvents himself—and his work—in response to his surroundings, circumstances, community, and life.

Several figurative pieces, mounted on plywood and backlit in primary colors, flaunt deer antlers. O’Reilly describes this series of three sculptures: “Antlers represent an annual shedding of oneself, an opportunity to grow anew.”  He muses on the complexity within a person, explaining, “there can be two or three selves inside, competing for a range of consciousness.”

Throughout Steffl Gallery, O’Reilly adorns large caricatures with smaller figures that adopt playful, menacing, and peculiar poses, seemingly identifying alter egos. O’Reilly recognizes his work as autobiographical; however, he reveals that the meaning isn’t immediately apparent even to himself, and he is still sifting through the layers Shed Self presents.

Matthew O’Reilly completed his MFA in ceramics at the Alberta University for the Arts in Calgary, AB, Canada. He also holds a Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Bachelor of Education, and a Masters in Education with a specialization in Social Justice from Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada. He currently resides in Missoula, Montana, serving an artist residency at the Clay Studio of Missoula.

Image Credit: Matthew O'Reilly, "Casting Credulity,"  wood fired ceramic, antlers, wood, LED lights, cord, metal, 2023, 5'x2'x10.5", photo by Rio Chantel

Content warning for visitors: nudity, sexual themes

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