Artist we love: Matthew Shlian

The artist Matthew Shlian has a truly unique artistic approach. In his art, the idea and the shape come together with harmonious and unpredictable results. Shlian made paper the medium and the message of his art. The result is as if suspended between science and geometry, in elements with a captivating and unmistakable design.

Matthew Shlian: artist between geometry and science

Matthew Shlian was born in 1980 in the United States. Trained in ceramics, the artist has, however, extended his artistic language by embracing other materials. Already during the first years of activity, Shlian developed a keen interest in digital printing and paper, of which he appreciated the flexibility and immediacy.

Matthew Shilian: artist between geometry and science
Unholy 238

As a paper engineer, the artist’s work is rooted in print media, as well as commercial design. However, the aesthetic that Shlian aspires to has far greater inspirations. The engineering skills of the American artist, led also to the collaboration with scientists from the University of Michigan. In particular, the creation of kinetic nanoscale sculptures extends to the visualization of solar cell development and cellular division.

I loved the immediacy of paper as a medium. I also loved the geometry. Figuring out the pieces was like solving a puzzle. I understand things spatially; I have to see something to make sense of it. Researchers see paper engineering as a metaphor for scientific principles; I see their inquiry as a basis for artistic inspiration.

The creative process is different for each sculpture and each shape and geometry that the artist reproduces. According to the artist himself, the material often takes on the final aesthetic during the work. The final form does not necessarily reflect the initial idea.

Artist Matthew Shlian: designer with inexhaustible creativity

Shlian has been the protagonist over the years of numerous performances. Some of the most recent are: Matthew Shlian Solo Show, Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe, Peripheral Technologies Group Show, Ann Arbor Art Center and Science et Art 8th Biennale Nationals De Sculpture Contemporaine, Trios- Riveres, Quebec. The artist also aroused great interest at the Islamic Arts Festival Juried Exhibition, Sharjah, 2017 and at the Paper Biennial Rijswijk Group Show, Rijswijk Museum, Netherlands in 2016.

Artist Matthew Shilian: designer with inexhaustible creativity
Unholy 214 Soon My Doubles Will Pull Off All Of My Stunts

Teaching is also an essential part of Shlian’s work. Protagonist of the lecture “Paper Engineering” in Minneapolis and Albuquerque; lecturer in “Paper Sculpture” in New York, Naples Florida, and Gatlinburg, among many others.

Matthew boasts meaningful collaborations that have made him a point of reference and inspiration among designers from many different fields. During his career, the artist has, in fact, collected collaborations with Apple, Ghostly International, ZAAZ, Supreme, Levi’s, Chrysler, Shutterstop, Facebook, Shingle, The British Film Institute, MoMA, Google, Visa, Fitzpatrick Architecture, Vogue and Christian Dior.

“Unfolding” is the book that runs through Shlian’s entire journey to discover paper and the geometry of shapes. The collection reviews over a decade of activity that highlights the work of an extremely prolific artist with inexhaustible creativity.

Art we love

I find inspiration in just about everything; Solar cell design, protein misfolding, Islamic tile patterning, systematic drawing, architecture, biomimetics, music, etc.

The artist Matthew Shilian has a truly unique artistic approach. In his art, the idea and the shape come together with harmonious and unpredictable results
Unholy 75

Shlian is a fluid artist, who discriminates against the impositions of a stylistic choice at the expense of pure inspiration. This approach allows the artist to move from drawing to large-scale installations. However, the unifying element is almost always paper. That is a material that is a cornerstone of civilization. An essential component of the human experience since ancient times.

In Shlian’s works, there is an extreme definition and clarity, which, however, does not lack movement. From the intuition to investigate the concepts of form and art, the artist’s impulses cross the purely aesthetic limits and become a tool to analyze and understand the structures at the base of the world.

Discover the works of the artist Matthew Shlian on the dedicated page of our site: Matthew Shlian!

See All Articles
Dimension Unit