Space man

Matthew Gottschalk

Photo By Brad Bynum

Grass Valley sculptor and installation artist Matthew Gottschalk, 29, has an exhibition titled “… and architecture became everything” at the Silverland Gallery in the St. Mary’s Art Center, 55 North R St., Virginia City, running Sept. 5 to Oct. 7. The opening reception is Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. It should be a great excuse for art enthusiasts to make the drive up Geiger Grade. For more information, visit

Tell me about living and being an artist in Grass Valley?

Well, in a lot of ways, [it’s] really great. I’ve been here off and on for the last 10 years. I’ve moved around a little bit … I just came back actually a few months ago, I was living in Davis for two years, going to school to finish my degree.

What’s your degree?

Art studio. A B.A. But the main thing about Grass Valley, I think similarly to the St. Mary’s Art Center that I’m going to be doing my show in, I live and work in a historic former nuns’ convent called St. Joseph’s Cultural Center, which is a pretty remarkable, huge historical building that has art studios and dance studios and a huge hall for various types of performances.

You live and have your studio in St Joseph’s? So doing something at St. Mary’s makes some sense …

It’s funny. It’s actually totally right up my alley.

What do you have planned for the exhibition?

It should be pretty interesting … it’s actually part two of an ongoing theme. I did an installation work about four months ago at UC Davis that was entitled Please, Please 20,000 Leagues. And basically this whole work is dealing with concepts of fantasy and time and time travel and space-time continuums and a lot of it is referenced to actual science in terms of Einstein’s different theories of relativity and expanding space and a lot of it is attributed to older works of fantasy and science fiction, like Jules Verne and Kurt Vonnegut.

Any references to the flux capacitor?

[Laughs.] Not specifically. I’m not really specifically referencing any of these artworks. To me, it’s more like collaboration with these themes. But the work in Virginia City is going to be done very much site-specifically. And so, as of right now, I’m packing up everything, and basically what the plan is, is that I have some paintings, and I have some specific sculptures that I’ve already built, but overall I just have a ton of tools and different found objects and a lot of strange different things, and once I get up there I’ll be spending the three days before the opening really planning it there.

Have you been to the space yet?

No, I haven’t. I’ve only seen photos of it. … I have a lot of different ideas in my sketch book, and basically I have somewhat of an idea of what I’m going to be doing there, but it’s very much open to the elements once I get there, which is how I like to work. It’s a very exciting way to work.

So it gets to be really immersive, so you can just dive right in and see what comes out?

Yeah, exactly, and really try to work with the space as far as doing installation work. It’s really important for me to make it specific to the site, where it’s something that really exists in that space and that moment in time, so it’s somewhat ephemeral in its nature.

So it’s site-specific in every way possible?

Obviously, some of it is planned out ahead of time, so it’s a combination of the two … but that’s definitely a very important factor to me.