Matt Hausmann reclaims and repurposes cast-off materials and ornament to make obsessively fabricated and mathematically ordered constructions. Working with a variety of materials -- brass estucheon pins, nails, screws, lead, steel, aluminum, encaustic, shellacs, urethanes and a wide variety of aged, salvaged wood and recently, neglected architectural spaces -- Hausmann concentrates on their sculptural form, texture, surface and shadow. Puncturing solid surfaces with repetitive apertures allows light and color inside and behind the work creating a curious play space within and throughout. His process involves repetition and rhythm: multiple clusters of nail heads, intricate etched surfaces, layers of wax, shellac and paint covering delicately embellished surfaces.
His sculptural works are architectural. Each piece is textured and colorful, often gleaming with multiple finish layers, like pieces of hard candy. Together, the constructions make up a sort of wunderkammer, each piece playing with light, sheen, shadow, pattern and pathways that lead from one to the next.
In recent work, Hausmann turned his attention to human-scale projects and to architecture itself, specifically considering its role in shaping communities and the people who live in them. He rebuilt and renewed his own century-old townhouse in Brooklyn from the inside out. Hausmann joined Habitat for Humanity as the construction manager for Breezy Point, Queens, a seaside neighborhood devastated by fire and flooding after Hurricane Sandy. Hausmann organized hundreds of volunteers and touched a thousand storm-ravaged homes, working to reclaim and rebuild them, helping to heal and repair the physical and personal structure that holds the community together.
Seeking to leave the city in 2014, Hausmann acquired a building located at the heart of the historic hamlet of Oak Hill in Greene County, NY. Built around 1830, the post and beam structure, with a storied history as a post office, candy store, gas station, barber shop and family home, suffered from decades of neglect and was an derelict eyesore in the small Catskills community. Hausmann worked responsively with the building and landscape, sparking renewed energy and activity in the center of the village.
Born in 1968 in Alton, Illinois, Hausmann received a BA in art and psychology at Knox College. In 1991, after serving as a staff member at the Vermont Studio Center, he moved to New York City and and worked as steeplejack, tree-house builder, set designer, drummer, commercial fisherman, landscape designer, and builder for high-end residential and commercial restorations and renovations.
He served as studio assistant to artists Sean Scully and Glen Seator, and was a long-time artist-in-residence at Cucaracha Theatre in New York. Concurrent with his studio work, Hausmann wrote, performed and designed sets and shows with numerous theatrical and musical groups: drummer and writer in punk/art rock notables OverEndEver and Bourbon & Clorox; founder and lead writer/producer of the New York City-based performance orchestra Coocoohandler; and founder, performer and writer in the critically acclaimed long-running downtown rock musical Uncle Jimmy’s Dirty Basement.
Hausmann’s work has been featured in various venues and media including: Good Morning America, MTV, MTV2, PBS/City Arts, NY 1, New York Times, Time Out New York, New Yorker, New York Magazine, Fine Homebuilding, BRIC, Joe’s Pub, the Kitchen, PS 122, CBGBs, HERE, Westbeth Theatre, Galapagos, PS 1, Bowery Poetry Club, Surf Reality, Fringe Festival, Knitting Factory, Blue Rider, K & E Gallery, Artists Space, Art in General, Whitney Artworks, South Seaport, SECCA, Cleveland Institute of Contemporary Art, Allentown Art Museum, Albright-Knox Gallery, Bass Museum of Art and more.
An avid fisherman, Hausmann spends time studying the weather and the sea, mostly in Maine. After 30 years in Brooklyn, he now lives and works in Oak Hill, NY.