Image of a darkened pool.

Matthew Connors, "Pyongyang," 2016; pigmented inkjet print; 20 x 15 inches.

Matthew Connors

Artist in Residence, 2022
Artist in Residence, 2020

A portrait of person in a shadowed room.

Artist Statement

I am an artist whose lifelong commitment to the medium of photography has been propelled by the revelatory potential of photographing in the public sphere. My interests are rooted in my early studies in literature and political philosophy, which inform my approach to historical, cultural, and political realities. I use photography and creative writing as a means to convey the emotional and intellectual weight of those realities, and expand notions of the documentary. My practice is fluid, employing a variety of processes and is increasingly oriented toward the relationship between text and image in the expansive terrain of art book publishing. 

When photographing, I gravitate toward the external world in largely international contexts, and have been drawn to valences of friction between governments and the collective will of their citizenry. In the past several years this has led me to haunt the periphery of revolutionary activity in Cairo; glimpse the mechanisms of totalitarianism in North Korea; embed myself in the Occupy movement in New York; chart the legacy of revolutionary monuments in Cuba; track the paroxysms of protest in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election; and observe the evolving pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. With all this work my goal has been to navigate between reportage, poetry, and surrealism to find different visual idioms that can render these currents of history with emotional urgency.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands I plan to transform my studio into a bookmaking laboratory where I edit, sequence, and bind handmade artist books and book dummies for publication. The content of these books will be based on photographs I have been making in North Korea, and of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and recent protests America. I will additionally use my time at Headlands to research and write texts for these projects.