"Reverse Ejaculation," Cactus Milk, 2012.

PLAYGROUND DETROIT Presents: Michelle Matson, as our NYC artist resident to participate in our Spring 2013 Residency Program in collaboration with Spread Art in Southwest Detroit. Born 1981, she currently lives & works in Brooklyn, NY. She has had various solo shows in New York, including “Cactus Milk” (2012) at the Youth Group Gallery, Brooklyn and “Rise” (2012) paper sculpture installation in Soho, NY at Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please.

Local Bushwick heavyweights 3rd Ward and Bushwick Daily have profiled her, citing her 3-D work as, “really impressive… [and] engaging to look at. As a creator, Michelle has great sense of humor…” Even NY Art critic Jerry Saltz is in her corner; while working with her as a contestant on Bravo TV’s “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist”  Season 2, having said that,

When around her, I often found myself in a strange awe of her artistic grace. I believe Michelle has a real future in the real art world.”

After reviewing many other applications received, PLAYGROUND DETROIT curator Joe Jagos alongside Thomas Bell and Christina deRoos, Co-Directors of Spread Art are excited announce Matson as the first participant for the Detroit-based residency program. Her unique medium and sense of “PG adult humor” sets her art apart from other artists and we welcome her back to the city she never got to know giving her the opportunity to re-aquiant with the city as it is now.

Michelle, why are you interested in doing the residency program in Detroit?

Patti Smith was recently quoted, saying “New York has closed itself off to the young and struggling […] New York City has been taken away from you … So my advice is: Find a new city.” And her suggestion was Detroit.

I grew up outside of Detroit, in Berkley, MI. I remember the area as it was then- my father worked for GM, a new recruit. I remember being very young, my parents were not well off but they could afford their own tiny house. Now, at 31 years old, I’m just around my fathers age when he was raising his two young daughters there. Detroit is a place I have long fantasized about returning to. I am interested in exploring the city, experiencing the local culture and expanding my own practice there. Detroit feels free to me, it feels like New York in the 70’s- raw, open, and unmolested by suburban domesticity. I am excited about the city as it stands, curious about the city it was and invested in the city it can become.

What interests me most about this residency is comparing the experience of making art in Detroit to my experience of making art in New York. I’m interested in bringing artistic attention to Detroit and strengthening an exchange and critical dialogue between Detroit and New York.

What do you want to get out of this residency program?

I want to gain a better understanding of the contemporary art culture that currently exists in Detroit, and I want to explore how my practice fits into that culture. I intend on using my time to make a new body of work- simple geometric sculptures paired with figurative/representational intricate cut paper pieces.


Michelle Matson will have a solo exhibit at Whitdel Arts Center in mid-May and will also be featured as part of Spread Art’s Summer Group show during Bushwick Open Studios in June 2013. We will continue to update on Michelle’s residency experience in Detroit and provide more detailed information on both exhibits!


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