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Numb Windows | Matthew Nielson Numb Windows | Matthew Nielson

VPA News

Random Access Gallery will present “Numb Windows,” the first solo exhibition by Matthew Nielson, with an opening reception on Friday, Oct. 26, from 5-8 p.m. in 117 Smith Hall. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

The work of Matthew Nielson explores perspective, dynamic forces, and the abstract expression of entropy through the exploration of material. He is a South Carolina artist who uses his training as a sculptor and surgical support technician to recreate the uncertainty of a hospital waiting room. In January 2017 Nielson’s brother suffered a traumatic head injury during a military training exercise and had to go into surgery. After rushing to the hospital, Nielson found himself waiting in anticipation amidst the tones, beeps and hums of the hospital machinery as President Donald Trump’s inauguration played on the television.

In “Numb Windows,”Nielson works with the dismal sensations of the constant hospital drone, the swarming staff members and the knowledge of helplessness in the waiting room as a way to amplify the feeling of nervous anticipation. As President Trump was being sworn in, Nielson saw the same shocked sense of apprehension that one feels for an endangered loved one in the operation room on the faces of nearly every person in the country. Fear and hope palpably intertwined. The dismal sensations from before turned from anticipation to invitation. A seductive invitation to let repetition take over and numb the senses.

Nielson received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Winthrop University and is currently exploring a career in nursing while working for the McLeod Medical System in South Carolina.

Random Access Gallery’s exhibitions, performances, artist talks and panel discussions offer a space for broadening the scope of interdisciplinary collaboration and experimentation in contemporary creative practices. Through dynamic curatorial initiatives and inclusivity, the gallery brings together local, national and international artists for critical conversations. Random Access is funded through the generous contributions of Syracuse University’s School of Art in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and CASP.

For an accommodations request, contact Charles Hickey at or 404.520.4763.