Matthew Funk Barley: Constructive Abstraction
A craftsman’s journey to art and design
Matthew Funk Barley's new exhibit, entitled Constructive Abstraction (A craftsman’s journey to art and design), will be on display throughout the month of July at Mulberry Art Studios. The show opens with a First Friday Reception on July 7 from 5pm until 9pm. Mulberry Art Studios holds regular gallery hours on weekdays from 10am until 4pm, and is located in historic downtown Lancaster at 19-21 North Mulberry Street.
Constructive Abstraction is made up of paintings and furniture, inspired by Barley's last two years of graduate school. "The studio experience challenged my intuitive design sense and caused me to rigorously examine forms of 2D and 3D representation" explains Barley. "The show begins as two independent explorations in chair design and painting and culminates with a collaboration of both."
The four chairs on display are an exploration in pushing the structural limits of materials within the context of joinery. The assembly techniques explored are a combination of traditional, new types, and digitally fabricated joinery. As the designs were built, each piece led to very different and unintended results.
The paintings began in a figurative painting class. During this time Barley developed 2D color constructions based on a architectural concept model he created. He developed the constructive abstraction process and applied it to the logic of a cube to generate the 2D representations. Although they are 2D, the paintings are intended to be imagined as potential 3D spaces, and should be viewed as such.
Barley is a interior designer and painter who grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received a MDES in Interior Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design and a B.S. in Industrial Arts from Souther Utah University. In 2000 Matt designed and built his first piece of furniture. But his passion for architecture and design had started many years ago when at a young age he had spent three months in Kenya building a library. During this experience he and his team mates built the entire brick structure with no electrical equipment. For his undergraduate work he studied Industrial Arts, which allowed him to explore traditional means of construction and antique furniture reproduction. After graduation he ran a small construction company in the Pacific Northwest making and designing bespoke residential and commercial installations and structures. In 2013 he applied to, and was accepted to Rhode Island School of Design’s (RISD) Interior Architecture program. It was during this time that he began designing beyond the world of antique reproduction and historic aesthetics. Matt currently works full time as an Interior Designer at RLPS Architects in Lancaster. On the weekends he designs and builds commissioned furniture art installations.