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Re-Tread Solo Exhibition March 14th-April 18th 

I you welcome to my solo show here in Kansas City

Hope you can make it down!

Here at the Studios Inc. 1708 Campbell St. Kansas City Missouri

here is link for all the particular details:


Below is the Exhibition Statement created by Independent Curator/Art Consultant--James Martin


This time, it’s personal.

In recent years, Matt Dehaemers has become well-known throughout the U.S. for making art for public spaces, in locations such as Charlotte, NC; Casper, WY; Santa Clarita, CA; and Joplin, MO. Though widespread, these works share many of the characteristics of public art that have been described by the organization Americans for the Arts: “Whatever the form, public art instills meaning—a greater sense of identity and understandings of where we live, work, and visit—creating memorable experiences for all.”[i] In other words, good public art is often purposely more about the site and its community than the artist that made it.

In contrast, the Re-Tread exhibition provides a welcome opportunity to gain insight into Dehaemers’ identity, instead of the identity of a public space. This is art made for personal reasons for a private space.

Taking inventory of what we see, automobiles are everywhere: in a monster truck-inspired construction; drawings of 1970s muscle cars; and life-size truck tire forms. The importance of automobile culture to the artist can be seen not only in the prevalence of these references, but also through the glowing, halo-like light that illuminates many of the forms. Yet Dehaemers’ sources are not exclusively mechanical. References to nature abound also, as trucks sprout trees, asparagus shoots forth from lug nuts, and tires are comprised of naturally derived materials such as paper and wood strips.

Dehaemers’ family reflects this marriage of the natural world and the world of wheels. His great-grandparents were part of a wave of Flemish immigrants who came to eastern Kansas in the early 20th century to work small farms and sell their produce out of truck beds. In addition, his father owned and operated an automobile salvage yard for 40 years, which in 21st-century terms might be considered a green business, and a cousin continues in the salvage trade today. It’s important to note though that these personal references do not marginalize Dehaemers’ art; rather, they speak to the universal theme of family. This is particularly evident in Navigating a Way, a large work hanging from the ceiling that resembles a tire swing, in which one can envision generations swaying at play.


The wooden chassis, wheels and axles in the Re-Tread exhibition would undoubtedly carry scant weight. However, they are plenty robust to bear Dehaemers’ endeavors to work out what it means to be an artist from a family of farmers and salvage men. It turns out that he fits right in.


James Martin

Independent curator and art consultant


[i] Retrieved March 2, 2014.