OOSI Sculpture

Back

1981 / Ira Matteson / Cleveland

Back2017b.jpg

A slab of steel that has been cut out to resemble a line drawing of a woman from the back. Her head is bent over and her hands are in front of her, obscured by her body. She is nude.

Matteson has created a powerfully intimate figure: nude, turned away, with her head in her hands, presumably upset or lost in thought. By rendering such a vulnerable figure in a hard, durable material like steel, Matteson seems to be hailing vulnerability and openness as truly great strength, despite often looking like and feeling like weakness. The steel silhouette stands in the freshman residential village, where all first year students at CWRU live. And for those young men and women trying to discover who they are, the message that Back meekly projects into the pavilions around it is indispensable.

The title "Bacl" seems obvious, but Matteson explained to the Observer some of the challenges that come with naming a piece. He said that he had had some trouble deciding on a name for Back. He mentioned that the title of a piece can fundamentally change the way a viewer approaches it, so he wanted to make sure that the name properly reflected the conceit of the work. He thusly settled on the simple and seemingly self-evident title of "Back" because it is a straightforward title that forces the viewer to confront the work on its own terms.

Matteson has made statements about his work and process for exhibitions all over the US. Regarding his silhouetted pieces, for a statement in 1981, and again in similar words in 1988, he says: "I began to interpret my drawings of the figure three dimensionally, translating crosshatch and parallel stroke into the structure of the work. Gradually, I moved to approach my drawings directly and simply, presenting only one view of the model. The resulting flat silhouette has been the dominant message of my work." He continues to elaborate on the silhouette form saying, "The flat silhouette presents the broadest statement of the pose, thus indicating the point of view. But surface, which is the inherent subject of graphic work, can be the site onto which will and work are registered... The purple brown rust of Cor-ten steel, when seen with light from behind, presents a formidable silhouette."

Location: In front of the Taft House Dormitory., Juniper Road

County

: Cuyahoga

Citation

: Ira Matteson, “Back,” Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory, accessed November 22, 2017, http://oosi.sculpturecenter.org/items/show/351.

Dublin Core

Title

Back

Description

A slab of steel that has been cut out to resemble a line drawing of a woman from the back. Her head is bent over and her hands are in front of her, obscured by her body. She is nude.

Matteson has created a powerfully intimate figure: nude, turned away, with her head in her hands, presumably upset or lost in thought. By rendering such a vulnerable figure in a hard, durable material like steel, Matteson seems to be hailing vulnerability and openness as truly great strength, despite often looking like and feeling like weakness. The steel silhouette stands in the freshman residential village, where all first year students at CWRU live. And for those young men and women trying to discover who they are, the message that Back meekly projects into the pavilions around it is indispensable.

The title "Bacl" seems obvious, but Matteson explained to the Observer some of the challenges that come with naming a piece. He said that he had had some trouble deciding on a name for Back. He mentioned that the title of a piece can fundamentally change the way a viewer approaches it, so he wanted to make sure that the name properly reflected the conceit of the work. He thusly settled on the simple and seemingly self-evident title of "Back" because it is a straightforward title that forces the viewer to confront the work on its own terms.

Matteson has made statements about his work and process for exhibitions all over the US. Regarding his silhouetted pieces, for a statement in 1981, and again in similar words in 1988, he says: "I began to interpret my drawings of the figure three dimensionally, translating crosshatch and parallel stroke into the structure of the work. Gradually, I moved to approach my drawings directly and simply, presenting only one view of the model. The resulting flat silhouette has been the dominant message of my work." He continues to elaborate on the silhouette form saying, "The flat silhouette presents the broadest statement of the pose, thus indicating the point of view. But surface, which is the inherent subject of graphic work, can be the site onto which will and work are registered... The purple brown rust of Cor-ten steel, when seen with light from behind, presents a formidable silhouette."

Creator

Date

1981

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Location City

Location County

Location Site

In front of the Taft House Dormitory.

Location Street

Juniper Road

Creation Date

01/01/1981