Placed features new works by Bill McBride and Matt Regier. McBride’s latest excursion into cartographical art is an eight foot tall soils map of Chase County. Regier’s new monotypes explore the spiritual quality of open spaces as absence and presence.
Both artists expose what is hidden underneath the tall grasses of the prairie — the various qualities that the soil has developed over millions of years and the buried homes and dreams of our relatively short human settlement in the place.
Regier says, “The populations of many small towns and rural settlements have been declining for decades. The signs of this hollowing out are often more subtle than the quintessential sinking barn or abandoned homestead. Houses in small towns may be separated by large, irregular spaces where earlier residences have long been cleared. These ‘gaps’ sometimes harbor only the subtlest traces of human narrative. The emptiness is nevertheless pregnant with some elusive meaning.”
The methods and materials of their work tap into this meaning as well. McBride’s maps build on surveys that were created to understand and often extract value from the land, but their beauty asks us to linger on its properties before pushing our own agenda. These properties are highlighted with the same enamel used over the years by sign painters to grab viewers’ attention. His sculptures are constructed from the leftover materials of more recent developments found just above the surface.
When Regier describes his process, it speaks to the broader uncertaintly and potential of life on the prairie: “The monotype is itself an elusive medium, with results that are often difficult to predict or control. But with patience and luck it may yield a certain diaphanous quality, a suggestion of presence hovering over the land.”
Bill McBride is a sculptor working with materials found in the prairie, creating earthworks, and exploring the prairie through maps. He lives in Matfield Green with his wife, Julia, and son, Luke. Bill grew up in Lima, Ohio and received his BA and Masters in Architecture at Harvard. In 1976 he established his own design practice in Chicago and served a wide variety of clients for 25 years.
His love of nature, spiritual connection of tall grass prairie, and deep desire to be a sculptor lead to the decision to move from Chicago to Matfield Green in 2005. In the years since he and Julia renovated Matfield Station, built a house, founded Pioneer Bluffs, and had a child in concert with realizating of the dream of being a sculptor in the prairie. He is working on Matfield Station PrairyArt Path just north of Matfield Green.
All are welcomed to walk the four miles of mown paths engaging sculpture in untilled prairie and the remnants of historic Santa Fe Rail Road stock pens.
Matt Regier grew up on a corn farm in South Central Nebraska. In 2015, he moved from rural Peabody, KS to Matfield Green with his wife, Tia, and son, Eliot. Two weeks later their daughter Lyda was born.