Artist Talk with Matt McConnell

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Artist Talk with Matt McConnell

January 17 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Thursday, January 17, 6 pm. Artist talk with Matt McConnell.

LOCATION: Gregg Museum of Art + Design

McConnell discusses his participation and work created for the 20th Edition Islamic Arts Festival at the Sharjah Arts Museum in the United Arab Emirates in 2017. The exhibition, one of the world’s most renowned Islamic Arts events, featured artists from 30 countries. Since 2001, McConnell Studios has created custom-designed sculpture, lighting, and architectural installations for public, commercial, and residential clients. More Information

Matt McConnell, local artist and sculptor, will present a talk at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design on Thursday January 17th at 6pm on his experience as an invited participant to the 2017 Islamic Arts Festival, presented by the National Museum, Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates.

The theme of the 20th Edition festival was “athar (impact)”.  As the festival program describes, “… The formative impact related to the various fields of Islamic art in addition to its cultural and intellectual impact has motivated the vision and imagination of many contemporary artists by urging them to investigate the various Islamic art visual effects within their modern practices. … Western artists have mostly explored and applied Eastern visual styles within their visual research … and have clearly revealed Islamic art through imposing its principal elements…and styles that are known for their massive visual influence which highlighted the spiritual, aesthetic, and creative values of the content.”

McConnell was among a select group of artists chosen to exhibit at the 20th Edition festival, and was included in the festival exhibition at the request of the Department of Culture. Vessel V (2008), the work exhibited, consisted of five vessel forms, the first vessel set in form to become the next in the series, with each vessel part of a larger vertical column. It was “created to express moments in an infinite series” and gave the illusion of rotation, from the first to the last and back again. The sculpture was featured at the Sharjah Museum from December 13th 2017 to January 28th of 2018.

“I spent time with 42 incredible artists from around the world,” notes McConnell, “including a moment to present my piece to both the Crown Prince of Sharjah, (His Highness) Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassim, and the Consul General of the United States Paul Malik (both of whom attended festival’s opening event). In that time, we all made new friends from countries including New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Egypt, and the UAE, among others. I have immense respect for the talent, determination, and skill shown by so many of the people involved. It truly (was) an incredible collection of work, and I am honored to have been included.”

Upcoming 2019 exhibitions at the Gregg address associated themes of impact through interactions with the physical world, how individual responses are influenced, and what evidence can be left behind from life experiences.

The annual Islamic Arts Festival began in 1998 under the supervision and organization of the Directorate of Art in the Department of Culture and Information, with the intention of exhibiting various kinds of traditional and contemporary Islamic arts. The Festival is one of the most renowned Islamic Art events in the region, and its events include local and international exhibitions, intellectual programs, and interactive activities. (Sharjah Museum web site).

Matt McConnell holds degrees in Architecture and Industrial Design from the N.C. State College of Design and has 23 years of professional experience in large-scale sculpture, architectural installation, lighting, and furniture design, including hundreds of commissions in a huge variety of materials and forms. Since 2001, McConnell Studios has created custom-designed elements for public, commercial, and residential clients.


The Gregg Museum of Art & Design is a free collecting and exhibiting museum with more than 35,000 objects in the permanent collection. From 19th century Japanese color woodblock prints to antique North Carolina quilts, the Gregg’s objects span cultures, disciplines and designs.


January 17
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Categories:


College of Design


The Gregg Museum
1903 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27607 United States
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