Steckline Gallery presents Matthew Hilyard’s ‘Ugly Pretty’ for First Friday

Jan 24, 2022
Ugly Pretty by Matthew Hilyard

As students, staff and professors continue to settle into the buzz of this spring semester, a new and unique exhibit is bringing fresh art to the Steckline Gallery.

Matthew Hilyard will present his exhibition, “Ugly Pretty,” 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 4 for First Friday in the Steckline Gallery. All are welcome to attend.

About the artist

A preview of Hilyard's work within the exhibition, "Ugly Pretty."
A preview of Hilyard’s work within the exhibition, “Ugly Pretty,” which debuts in the Steckline Gallery on Feb. 4.

Hilyard is a local Wichita artist who challenges viewers to think about mundane and ordinary things in a new light. He creates his array of artwork by utilizing a variety of textures and color palettes.

The “Ugly Pretty” exhibition expresses the beauty that can be found in raw, everyday life. This is a testament to Hilyard’s mission as an artist, and shows just how powerful artistic intuition can be. Hilyard describes his creative process on his website

“My approach to working is very intuitive,” Hilyard’s artist statement communicated. “Usually there are no sketches to work from and little predetermined choice of color. The result is the physical consequence of a dialog between myself and my materials while I am working. I consider myself a formalist, and as such constantly face the struggle to create compositional balance. The process: making marks, applying materials, responding to each action with a reaction toward a profound end. I am a maker of things and I seek the rarity in the profound.”

Shannon Johnston, associate professor of art and director of the Steckline Gallery, is happy to feature Hilyard’s work in the gallery.

Hilyard's artwork encourages viewers to notice the beauty within the seemingly mundane.
Hilyard’s artwork encourages viewers to notice the beauty within the seemingly mundane.

“Matthew Hilyard is well known in the Wichita art community,” said Johnston. “It is always a privilege to have an artist with his longevity and breadth of work at the Steckline Gallery. Matthew also has a relationship with Steckline that predates me as gallery director. It is fantastic to see his work evolving as the relationship with the gallery continues.”

“Ugly Pretty” will be on display in the Steckline Gallery through Friday, Feb. 25. The Steckline Gallery is located in the DeMattias Fine Arts building of Newman University, 3100 McCormick St. In addition to First Friday, members of the public are welcome to visit the gallery Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by special appointment. For more information, please contact Johnson at [email protected].