MinXus Mail Bag: Vispo by Matthew Stolte (Madison, Wisconsin, USA)

Matt - 2.25.2014 - 1

Mail-art by Matthew Stolte (Madison, Wisconsin, USA)

Matthew Stolte lives in Wisconsin, USA, a state with a high concentration of visual poets, enough so that we have renamed it Vis-consin. While distinctive and evolving, Matthew’s work shows the influence of Wisconsin resident and vispo giant David Chirot. As this postcard-size piece indicates, Matthew’s work frequently incorporates found materials, employs overlaying and distortion and emphasizes the materiality of language.

Critics make a distinction between “clean” and “dirty” concrete poetry. Matthew Stolte’s poetry – with its industrial, gritty qualities – very often falls into the “dirty” category. Due to the abstract nature of the work, formalism is suggested. He builds and weaves structures together, but ultimately we believe these are organic forms rather than a dry formalism.  The numerous symbols and patterns formed during the process of composition add an asemic dimension, enough so that this could be fairly viewed as a vispo/asemic hybrid.

As with this mail-art piece, Matthew Stolte’s work is often concerned with environmental issues and presents a vision of a tarnished, post-industrial world. Ever-present are references to machines, metals and the repetition of industrial production. Ultimately, his work is language-centered, seldom straying far from words and letters as opposed to vispo that is composed of images. This preoccupation with language is a postmodern trait; and like the postmoderns, Matthew Stolte sees language as a complex set of relations (including the formation of metaphors), indeterminate signifiers, the machinations of poetic form: a questioning of the possibility of meaning.

Matt - 2.25.2014 - 2

Matthew Stolte is a very active member of the international mail-art, which is a great benefit to many of us. He generously shares original copies of his work and participates in projects. As ever, we are deeply appreciative.


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