Matthew Kolodziej

Matthew Kolodziej

Title: Professor
Department: Painting and Drawing
Office: Folk Hall 182
Phone: 330.972.6030


Kolodziej earned a BA in economics from the University of Chicago in 1988 and an MFA in painting from Rhode Island School of Design in 1993. Interested in what people leave behind, Kolodziej worked on archaeological digs while in college. These formative experiences strengthened an interest in material culture. Although one fragment might not tell a story, a collection of information begins to show patterns and meaning. A Fulbright Scholar in 1995, Kolodziej traveled extensively in England to explore prehistoric ruins.


Kolodziej’s work in the film and video industry and theater production fostered his interest in movement, perception, and epic space. How we see is as important as what we see. How we negotiate and reconcile the collision of fragmentary information with a desire to make sense of place is the subject of his work. The transitory quality of space and perception is a central theme in Kolodziej’s paintings. He uses images of architecture and landscape to explore the presence of change.


Kolodziej’s process, akin to the way an archaeologist works, begins with documenting construction and demolition sites with slides and drawings. These sources are them- selves in a state of transition. This documentation gives him a sense of the texture, physical structure, color, and light in the landscape. In the studio, slides of sites are projected to redefine these places. Initially, the projections are mapped to form a network. Like an archaeological site, the paintings present fragments and residues on the surface as evidence of intersections and structures. This experience forces a sense of dislocation in the viewer rather than recreating a specific place or stability. The places in these paintings drift between interpretations of being virtual constructions and evidence of actual human presence.


In recent work he has been tracing over the drawings with gel medium and pouring paint between the lines. The effect is a cast, or fossil, of the original structure. The color and density of the paint work with, or counteract, this map. There is a constant dialogue between the fixed structure chosen from the slides and the editing and decomposing of that structure in the medium of paint. Fragments of information are compressed together. The images are simultaneously forming and dissolving. The space in the painting is an arena or stage where illusions are built, pulled apart, reconfigured, and reconstructed. Kolodziej's paintings balance between these states of being.


Kolodziej has been exhibiting his work since the mid 1980s. His work has been shown in galleries and museums around the country and abroad. Recent solo shows include work at Art Advisory Boston in Massachusetts and St. Michael’s College in Vermont. His work was represented in group exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Rockford Art Museum in 2005, the Akron Art Museum in 2004, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland in 2003.


M.F.A. in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design, B.A. University of Chicago