Saturday, 28 April 2018

Festival 15 - Matthew Burrows

'Painting is not born out of intelligence but the fine balance between confidence and surrender.' 
Matthew Burrows 

Wall (2017) 
Oil on board 152.5 x 124.5cm 

1. Can you tell us something about your work in this show and something about how your work has developed over the years. 
I am fortunate enough to live and work in the rolling hills of East Sussex, my studio, on the site of an old wind mill, is firmly perched on a ridge between valleys. Despite the beautiful views and clear vistas, my relationship to place is not one of description or nostalgia, but one of dwelling and ritual. It is a process of mythologizing, of drawing meaning from the particularities of the environment, of realising its wilderness and ours.

I’ve always considered myself a painter of people and places, and yet, it's rare to find these fully articulated anywhere in my work. In one sense this is about the problem of metaphor - a picture of a landscape is not the meaning of a landscape and can easily lead to trite illustration. My painting ‘Oasis’, on show at HAF, is a painting of absence, it depicts a structure in a barren landscape that could be an alter or building, a means of display or container of sorts. Beyond the suggestion of a ground and horizon there are few clues to construct a narrative, instead one is left with the density of pigment and colour, the movement of mark and tension across its hard yet porous surface. The title suggests hope in the harshness of the desert, it is the mystic’s landscape of solitude and temptation, a paradise of emptiness and rage, a country of madness and silence.

Single and Divided (2017) 
Oil on board 122 x 94cm

2. What you find most enjoyable and/or difficult about the process of creating art? 
The most enjoyable part of making art is that it asks so much of you, it asks everything, no stone left unturned. Of course, that’s what makes it difficult too. It’s a hard task master, mostly it leaves you frustrated and despondent, months can go by with little or no joy. But there’s something compelling and surprising in its mystery that keeps you moving on.

3. What would you like to see the Hastings Arts Forum do in the future?
HAF plays a significant part in the artistic fabric of Hastings, it gives a sense of place and purpose to artists who live and move to Hastings. Moving forward it would be really exciting to see HAF look again at how it shows work, perhaps taking a more creative approach to the design, layout and structure of the walls etc. It maybe a step too far but an open competition to ask for design solutions to this may create some refreshing and surprising outcomes.

Eclipse II (2016) 
Oil on board 77.5 x 59.5cm

More about Matthew and his work can be seen on his website 

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