I am an abstract artist with an interest in working with a wide variety of media, and determined to remain free of formal art education.

 

Inspiration has come largely from early 20th century artists such as Picasso, Miro, Klee, Kandinsky, Chagall and Modigliani, and more recently from artists such as Hockney, Basquiat and Johns.

 

I view abstract art from the perspective of whether it is visually pleasing to me personally, and whether I would like to see it on my wall, rather than analysing the meaning.

 

I particularly admire the work of recently deceased artist Gillian Ayres RA, who made a point of only being interested in colours and shapes, rather than trying to achieve a meaning. She simply had fun painting and embraced colour in a very special way.

The only courses I have taken were over thirty years ago, when I learnt linocut, lithography and silk screening techniques. 

As a qualified engineer, I apply some of the skills I have acquired in engineering to my art.

I strive for visual impact, using strong, contrasting colours and a variety of textures and media in my work.

 

I am currently working on a series of large installations which use nitrous oxide canisters collected from the streets of Harrow and many other parts of London.

Now retired, I feel fortunate to have found a studio near my home where I can work on large projects unhindered, and where there is a supportive community of artists - Whitefriars Studios.

 

RESUME

1976 – 1978

Produced my first paintings (mainly acrylic and oil on hardboard) in my early 20s in Cape Town, South Africa after a relationship breakup. These are dark, moody works.

1978 – 1980
Took an evening course in lithography soon after moving to the UK, and had an art piece exhibited at the Camden Arts Centre. Also took an evening silkscreen course at Kingsgate workshop in West Hampstead and then hired my teacher’s studio for a few nights a week and produced a large number of limited edition prints which I sold at Swiss Cottage market. I also painted a few oils on canvas at home but was restricted for space. After the birth of my first child in 1980 I cut back on my artistic activity, with the exception of some pen & ink drawings, and the development of a method of collage which I devised, which I refer to as 'reverse applique'.

1988
I produced some small acrylic paintings on hand-made paper.

2011 – 2012
The premature death of my first wife released a creative surge that resulted in the creation of a huge 2.7m wide wall-mounted mixed media installation. Oil paintings followed, also serving as a form of therapy, helping me come to terms with my loss. I also started producing installations using plastic milk-bottle tops, one of which was selected for the Barnet Open Art exhibition at the Arts Depot in North Finchley.

2013 – 2014
I met my second wife, Lois, who has an artistic background. She is a graphic artist by training and has an interest in interior design, silk painting and photography. Together we collaborated on a work which uses my early 80s screen prints as a background, and extracts of over 750 photos taken during our first six months together.

2015 – 2015

Again restricted by space, I was not able to paint but was actively involved in the creative side of renovating a house. I designed and built my own studio and workshop space in the garden.

2016 – 2018

Produced a number of works in my garden studio, including oil and acrylic paintings, collages using my own early prints, and pen and ink drawings using my 'reverse applique' technique, echoing earlier pieces. Started working on laughing gas canister installations.

2019 to present

My garden studio became too small, and after moving into Whitefriars Studios in April I have been able to work on larger installations using laughing gas canisters, as well as other large pieces painted on hand made paper and some three dimensional wooden installations.
  

Parallel related interests:

  • I have taken a course in picture framing and frame my own work. I use hardwoods such as beech and ash to produce my own unique frame profiles.

  • My wife, Lois, and I have a shared interest in photography.
     

EXHIBITIONS

August 2012 Artsdepot Open 2012, Arts Depot, North Finchley.

September 2019 Whitefriars Studios Group Show at Whitefriars Gallery, for Open House

November 2019 Laugh out Loud solo exhibition at Whitefriars Gallery.

 

PUBLICATIONS & FEATURES

December 2019 Featured in Harrow People magazine (see page 21)
https://www.harrow.gov.uk/downloads/file/26730/harrow-people-december-2019

February 2020 One of 99 international artists featured in the 'New This Week' collection on Saatchi Art's homepage

https://www.saatchiart.com/art-collection/New-This-Week-2-10-2020/153961/326963/view

© 2023 by MATT WHITBY. Proudly created with Wix.com