James Matheson

James Matheson
from inquisition to slapstick

works on paper

Opening Friday September 4th, 2020 6-11pm running until September 27

COVID-19 Precautions:
During First Friday, Guests will be invited to view the exhibit individually or with their bubbled groups for up to 15 minutes. Gallery staff will admit guests on a first come basis and will record names and emails of all visitors entering the gallery. Masks are required.

Beyond First Friday
Please make an appointment to ensure a leisurely visit.
Gallery Hours: weekends 11am-6pm, weekdays by appointment


the rest of the museum has closed 2019
diplomatic off ramp 2019

James Matheson
Art historian Hal Foster said, “Formlessness in society might be a condition to contest rather than celebrate in art.” Painting and drawing, evoke the ephemeral, at the same time leaving strong traces of the actions of their own making – giving form to the formless.

Caught between the allure of post-modern theory, with its cerebral, dispassionate discourse, and the siren call of more visceral, direct ways of working, I face a tension each time I make art. I know that straying too far into the theoretical tends to paralyse my impulse to make art. Yet, my intellect tells me that concepts such as intuition and gut feeling are spurious. The needs of intellect, and the needs of body play out in the process of making non-representational art. The opaque calculus necessary to produce work leaves its history, in the composition, in the line and shape, in the application of every media. That is the history that the viewer reads and interprets.

The age of epic painting, beginning with the Renaissance and ending with Abstract Expressionism has been eclipsed by epic film-making and gaming. We can immerse ourselves in the Rococo pleasures of special effect-driven, three-hour block-busters and labyrinthine, all night online games. Painting and drawing needn’t, and shouldn’t compete. Art must take a more poetic tack. Its job needs to become exploring the intimate. Looking at delicate balances, tense interactions, quiet moments, and sudden bursts of emotion. That has become my job.