NORTH TONAWANDA —
“One of the forms I was working with was basically abstractions of bagpipes because whenever we found a firefighter or police officer, the whole site would shut down and the workers would line up and salute the body as it was being escorted into the ambulance,” Tyree said, adding that he would often hear bagpipes playing in his head during those solemn moments.
Natalie Brown, owner of the gallery, described Tyree’s large sculptures as “rugged” with “an underlying strength.”
“They’re very reminiscent of a building, but he likes to focus on persevering, so they’re beautiful at the same time,” Brown said. “He has an interesting balance of using concrete but making it look almost comforting.”
Tyree said he uses plaster, concrete, rebar and other assorted building and construction materials to create his sculptures to “help convey the message” and tie the pieces to some of the material he helped clean up at Ground Zero.
The sculptures are large — one as tall as 7 feet — and the materials can be hard and physically exhausting to manipulate, another echo of his grueling work after 9/11.
“It’s very labor intensive but that’s also another element of my work I love,” Tyree said. “There’s definitely a physical relationship involved and ... it’s also something I enjoy doing, whether it’s using the power tools to cut the stone or chisel, or working on the surface quality of the pieces.”
“Home Depot loves me,” he said with a laugh.
The opening reception for “Ground Zero” is 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Project 308 Gallery. The gallery’s regular hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and by appointment by calling 523-0068.
IF YOU GO • WHAT: "Ground Zero," sculpture by Matthew Tyree • WHEN: Friday through April 10; opening reception 7 to 10 p.m. Friday • WHERE: Project 308 Gallery, 308 Oliver St., North Tonawanda • MORE INFORMATION: Call 523-0068
Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116.