M  A  T  T  H  E  W     F  A  S  O  N  E
Message in a Bottle:

When I was a young boy there was a
massive construction project occurring
on the street I lived on where new
houses were being built doubling the
length of the street.  These houses
were being built where there was
previously only dirt.  An eyesore for
some perhaps but for myself and the
other kids it was our playground and
our heaven.

In addition to this, directly behind my
house there was another construction
project happening where
condominiums and a medical center
were being built.  Everyday I was
surrounded by dirt, rocks, wood, mud,
glass, cement and beautiful brown and
gray colors.  I would stand there and
watch the workers dig holes into the
ground and always wonder what was
underneath and how far down you
could actually dig.

I was disappointed when they finished
construction because all of that was
taken away from me, and so, that
special feeling I had being in those
excavated areas was gone too.  That
is until I was 13 and I found myself on a
2 week pilgrimage in Israel.  Leaving
America for the first time, this Brooklyn
boy was culturally shocked by what he
saw and experienced, but something
amazing happened as well.  I was
exposed to entire cities and towns that
were being excavated and surrounded
by dirt and rock that was thousands of
years older than what I had previously
experienced in my own small world
back home.  All of the ruins and
abandoned areas had such a
profound impact on me and everyday I
was collecting rocks, touching walls
and running my hands through the dirt.

Of course I didn’t know it at that time
but those experiences gave birth to the
artist that I am today.  Simply put, I’ve
always been drawn to old, decaying
things that exist in nature, whether
they may be organic or inorganic.  For
the past 10 years I’ve been exploring
this theme and the title of all of my
shows, regardless of my medium has
been “Excavation” and my
‘compositions’ are made up entirely of
a dichotomous relationship.  For
example, I use light and dark, harmony
and tension, preservation and
destruction and mobility and stability
symbiotically to create my work.

I first started using letters that I had
written on dyed paper in 2006 and this
installation piece titled “Message in a
Bottle” has me returning to that
concept.  Unlike the previously written
letters, these letters are bound and
inserted into a glass bottle and each
bottle’s letter is for a different person
who has had a unique impact on my
life.  These people include family and
friends as well as former teachers,
mentors and lovers.  I wrote these
letters under the pretense that if I had
died tomorrow, what would I say to
them and what would my final words
be?  Ironically however, in order to
read these letters one would have to
destroy the bottle and the artwork so in
a way the letters are more of a way for
me to say what I need to say and to
get some closure rather than actually
have the recipient read them.  The
aged bottle is a metaphor for
something being excavated and not to
be literally interpreted as something
that was physically buried and

There is a certain sense of fragility and
naiveté in my art and it can easily be
described as archaic and primitive.  
The elements in my artwork share a
non-hierarchal, symbiotic relationship.
One cannot exist without the other.
One transforms the other.  It is the
existence of these two things together
and “how” they exist and work together
as an artwork that is of importance for
me. The, “what is it?” bears little
importance.  The dichotomy my art
emphasizes the importance of
opposites and how they exist together
and forces us to have a better
understanding of the nature of

MIXED MEDIA 2012-2013
© 2021 Matthew Fasone