Artist Profile: Brian Matthew Hart


Brian Matthew Hart // Photo by Aaron Davidson, The Growler

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Choosing an artist to grace the cover of our arts issue was no small task. Grand questions about the nature of art and its creation swirled about as we explored the work of several talented local artists. We were hoping for an image that could elicit the interest and curiosity of the viewer, while also capturing the mysteries of the artistic process by which the art was created. The work of Brian Matthew Hart accomplishes both objectives perfectly.

Brian is a native Twin Citizen for whom art is both a profession and a hobby. Spending his days working in Target Creative’s marketing department, Brian’s nights are spent in darkness, crafting light drawings through long-exposure photography and the use of small LEDs. Working across a spectrum of analog and digital mediums, his work explores the boundaries between drawing and photography; the physical and the temporal.

cats cradleWEB

“Cats Cradle” by Brian Matthew Hart // Image courtesy of Brian Matthew Hart

The surreal effect of Brian’s light drawing on this cover was actualized through a combined effort of five people over the course of a nine-and-a-half-minute exposure. Shot in the small hours of a June night in the Franconia Sculpture Park, Brian composed the scene and guided his subjects in tracing the contours of their bodies and the sculpture, entitled “Dazzle,” with tiny LED lights.

Seen here in a “before and after” slider, Brian Matthew Hart used Chris Manzione’s “Dazzle” (2014, fabricated steel, painted, 13’x8’x24’) at Franconia Sculpture Park to create the cover of The Growler Issue #33
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One of three panels in Hart’s “Precursor Triptych,” which is made from many individual photographic exposures. Visit Hart’s website to see the full, three-panel image. // Image courtesy Brian Matthew Hart

Though Brian uses LED lights and a digital camera to capture his art, he maintains an organic philosophy to his work. “There is no digital trickery or gross manipulation of the photographic data which is not inherent in the original long exposure photo,” he says. “Aside from these technical concerns, what I enjoy most about making light drawings is its often collaborative nature. Being able to make this work with other people is a big part of what keeps me interested in pursuing it.”

In addition to drawings of a single scene, Brian creates large-scale composite drawings like “Precursor Triptych,” made from many individual photographic exposures. In addition to light, Hart works with mediums ranging from pencil, ink, and pastel—often combining different materials and practices for desired effect. Recently he has also been exploring creative possibilities in the fields of computational photography and “computer vision.”

When he’s not hanging out in the dark, Brian spends his free time sitting on the Arts Advisory Panel for the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s MADE HERE public art project, and the grant panel for the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council’s Next Step Fund. He recently moved into a new studio space with Minneapolis artist Nicholas Carroll and a handful of other local artists.

Interested in seeing more of Brian’s art? He will be showing some new work at Palmer’s Bar in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis throughout the month of August.


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