The MFA in Applied Craft and Design welcomes Matthias Pliessnig as part of the 2013-2014 Graduate Visiting Artist Lecture Series.
Matthias Pliessnig’s fluid, skeletal furniture forms are made using traditional steam-bending techniques with oak. His interest specifically with bending wood first developed in 2006 after making a boat. As a sculptor and woodworker his training developed during his studies at Kansas City Art Institute, earning a BFA in sculpture, at Rhode Island School of Design earning a BFA in furniture design and at the University of Wisconsin Madison, completing his MFA in wood and art in 2009. Human interaction imposed by furniture intrigues Pliessnig in his one-of-a-kind designs for benches. This interaction provides an additional consideration in the design process, one that is drastically different from considerations in creating a sculpture.
Pliessnig has received national attention for his work and is considered one of the top artists/designers working with wood today. In 2008, he received a grant for his MFA project from the Joan Mitchell Foundation; in the same year he was given the Best of the Year Award for lounge seating by Interior Design Magazine. In 2009, his work was purchased by the Museum of Art and Design’s permanent collection and he received a grant from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation. In 2010, he was awarded one of the most prestigious artist awards given today from United States Artists for $50,000. Most recently, the Smithsonian and Renwick Gallery chose eight pieces of his work to be included in the prestigious Renwick Craft Invitational. Pliessnig was one of four artists selected who represent the forefront of contemporary craft and design.