The show features a selection of Matthews' 'hybrid paintings', as well as a large-scale video that documents his process in making the works on display. Each piece was created over the past year during the artist's travels along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, in which the artist isolates himself within these various bodies of water for prolonged periods of time.
Matthews, alumni of the 2018 John Moore's Painting Prize, situates his artistic practice as a nomadic pursuit: a solitary desire to embrace and experience the sublime power of nature and landscape. Matthews, who literally creates the pieces within the water, often finds himself alone, adrift for over 10hours at sea - works in real time through a very direct approach and immediate relationship with the ocean, where it becomes evident that his process is as much about painting and materiality as it is about a connectivity to nature and personal spirituality.
His newest works incorporate (both as mark-making and collaged elements) found and handmade objects, such as driftwood (as with the piece ‘Way’, which makes use of found objects from the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, Mexico, and the Atlantic coast of Cornwall, England) and fired pieces of clay, to further the haptic and materialistic sensibility, as well as to create a dialogue with the sense of place, the animistic, the present and absent, the poetic and mystical.
Since 2016, the artist has further worked these 'ocean-paintings' to create hybridized canvases, where various bits of canvas (along with the aforementioned oceanic bric-a-brac) are stitched together to create a further level of complexity to his work and practice. In certain instances, the events that occur during these nomadic pursuits become inextricably linked to the formation of the work - such as the time in 2016 when Matthews, (along with some passersby on the beach) used one of his canvases as a makeshift stretcher to carry a drowning man from the water.
It can be stated that Matthews' practice is part of an artistic tradition that attempts to reach out into and work out how to visualize and make sense of nature as a sublime and even spiritual experience, where Matthews effectively unifies painted and performative voyages as a record of time, activity, and place.
PETER MATTHEWS lives and works in Leicester, England. He graduated with a BA(Hons) and MFA from Nottingham Trent University. Solo exhibitions include an installation-based exhibition at Pasaje Montoya, Barcelona, Spain (2018); 'From the Pacific to the Atlantic', Strange Cargo, Folkestone, Kent (2017); ‘In Search of the Sublime’, Beers London (2016); 'Surroundings', Beers London, (2013); ‘Continuum’, James Cohan Gallery, New York (2011); and ‘Sea Marks’, Mendes Wood DM, Sao Paulo (2011). He was a 2014 finalist in the Francois Schneider Contemporary Talents competition. In 2015, he completed an artist resident at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography California, and was also shortlisted on the Sky Arts programme ‘Landscape Artist of the Year’. In 2017 he was awarded the Hugh Casson Drawing Prize at Royal Academy of Arts, London. He was selected for the John Moores Painting Prize in 2018, and also showed a large body of works on paper at the Saatchi Gallery, London in the spring. Matthews' fair history includes a solo showing with BEERS London at ‘Artissima’, Torino (2016) and a forthcoming group presentation at Zona Maco, Mexico City, (2019).