Mateo Gutiérrez is a multidisciplinary artist who brings into question the underlying ethos of violence endemic to American history, culture and daily life. In his most recent work Mateo constructs large scale hand-embroidered paintings that tell a story of the traumatic conditions of modern American society through the lens of immigration and mass shootings. He sources his images and videos exclusively online.
Mateo was born in Geneva, Switzerland and raised in Tokyo, Japan before moving to the U.S. at the age of sixteen. In Tokyo he experienced firsthand a culture struggling between a traditional way of life and the contemporary influences of American globalism. After moving to the United States in his late teens, he struggled with his own conflicted relationship to the US. His work is both a sociopolitical and a deeply personal reflection on what it means to be American. Mateo presents a powerful critique of the traumatic effects of the so-called "American way of life" and also what it means to be an outsider as both foreign born and Latino. He cites his complex experience with the United States as central to his understanding of American cultural practices that are defined by racial and socioeconomic hierarchies engendering violence. Mateo sources his images online from news stories that he feels best depict a contemporary view of the traumatic effects of the underlying cultural code of violence in American society, stories that themselves make headlines for a short period of time and then are discarded from the cultural discussion, much like the people in the images themselves. In his work Mateo seeks to bring these all too often forgotten tragedies that litter the American landscape back to life, to make us look at them in excruciating detail by meticulously hand-embroidering them in artworks that, contradictory to the minute by minute social media news cycle attention span, take many months to make.
Mateo has a BA in philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley and his MFA in studio painting from the University of Texas at Austin. He lives and works in Austin Texas.