I view making functional pottery as an extension of my need to decorate and ornament my surroundings - as a testimonial about who I am, who I want to be and how I view the world. I work with porcelain for its associations with correctness, good taste and social hierarchy so that I may reinterpret these notions in my pots and sculptural vessels based upon my own personal sensibilities as well as the contemporary world order. Variations on traditional pottery forming techniques such as throwing, stamping, press molding and slip casting serve as a means of referencing historical concepts associated with pottery forms. The subversion of the expected form defines the work, and surfaces are treated to enhance this. In the Catastasis Series I access traditional vase forms and then reconstruct them in human size to reference non -ceramic forms, while still maintaining the integrity of the vase. The necks of the vases are divided off and twisted or braided to resemble outrageous hair styles - with a nod and a bow to some of the more ridiculously preposterous hair weaves that have become part of urban culture. Sometimes these manipulations take on an erotic nature. Hair has often been associated in mythology and psychology with male virility. It is also a part of our bodies that has become obsolete in its physical usefulness (protection from the elements) and has been transformed into a symbol of cultural and sexual identity, or tool used as an erotic lure. In a very similar way, the vase form itself has been used as a symbol of culture and cultural status. The collision of these ideas has set the tone for this series. The large porcelain vase forms, manipulated and reconstructed, sit on top of porcelain stands that reference the eighteenth century European ceramic wig stands, body parts or crumpled clothing. I employ decadence, sensuality, humor and flamboyance to toy with identity as well as the meaning of function.

The following quote represents the flavor of this series of work:

“ “But you must have known we would see through the parts you gave us.” He looked out to sea. “The object of the meta-theatre is precisely that -- to allow all the participants to see through their first roles in it. But that is only the catastasis.”

“ I’m afraid I don’t know what that word means.”

“It is what precedes the final act, or catastrophe, in classical tragedy.” He added, “Or comedy. As the case may be.”

“The case depending on?”

“Whether we learn to see through the roles we give ourselves in ordinary life.” ’’

(--John Fowles, from The Magus)

Matthew Towers received his B.F.A. in Theater from New York University and his M.F.A. in Ceramics from The New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. He is currently an Associate Professor of Ceramics at the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford in Connecticut. In the summer of 2012 Towers did a residency through the artists invite artists program at the Red Lodge Clay Center in Red Lodge, Montana, and in the summer of 2000 he was an artist-in-residence at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. In 2004 he received a grant from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. His work has been shown nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions such as Ceramics ‘97, Ceramics ‘99 , Ceramics 2001 and Ceramics 2005 (CT), White on White (MD), NCECA 2005 Clay National Exhibition (MD), Greenwich House Pottery (NYC), Pewabic Pottery (MI), The Elmhurst Art Museum, (IL), The Slater Memorial Museum (CT), The Archie Bray Foundation(MT), the Wexler Gallery (PA) and the Philadelphia Clay Studio (PA). He has also lectured at the University of Washington (WA), Sienna Heights University (MI), The University of Connecticut (CT), The University of Long Beach (CA), Rhode Island School of Design (RI), Alfred University (NY), Northern Arizona University (AZ) and the University of Alaska (AK). His work is in collections such as The Jingdezhen Museum of Ceramics (China), The Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art, (NY), The Archie Bray Foundation (MT) and the Pfannebecker Collection (PA). His work is also featured in the books Sex Pots Eroticism in Ceramics by Paul Mathieu, Overseas Contemporary Ceramic Art Classics by Bai Ming and 500 Vases by Lark Books.