(by Michele Drake)
“Time and perspective change the way we understand the things that humans produce,” says sculptor Matt Auvinen. “It is enriching to be able to connect with the past through the creation of artworks.”
Matt has a great appreciation of historic art, especially sculpture crafted from marble, his preferred material. He began working with marble in college, influenced by his drawing teacher Ken Morrow who also worked with stone. In fact, as a student, Matt was so attracted to the material that he traveled to Italy to obtain several tons of Carrara marble to ship back to California.
“While traveling through Europe on my personal ‘Grand Tour,’ I was fascinated by the work of the Greek, Renaissance and Baroque masters,” Matt says. "Michelangelo and Bernini were able to transform hard marble into something carnal and plastic."
In between earning his undergraduate degree from California State University, Chico, and his Master of Fine Arts from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, the Finnish-born sculptor became an artisan for several stone carving laboratories in Pietrasanta, Italy, and a sculpture instructor in Rome and Florence.
“It was enriching to share my experience in the stone carving industry and my favorite museums with my students,” recalls Matt.
In all, Matt spent 25 years of his career in Italy before returning to California. In his last seven years in Italy, he worked for a school of restoration in Venice, training restoration students to carve stone. "Understanding, examining and repairing pieces from antiquity have informed my sculptures."