Artist Statement 2018

As a child I was on intimate terms with the wild spaces surrounding me.  Most of my time was spent racing on horseback through the woods and open fields.  I learned to love and respect the mountains at an early age.  As the youngest of four kids, summers were spent backpacking, winters were spent skiing.  I’ve always felt peace in the wild spaces. I’ve always carried my home, the Pacific Northwest inside me.

 

As a lover of storytelling, my art leans towards the narrative.  I create figurative and botanical inspired sculpture that speaks of a life immersed in the real and imagined wonders of the natural world.  I think of the figures as people that are becoming part of their wild space, evolving, taking on characteristics of plant life.  Some days, I feel like, I too, might sprout mushrooms out my ears.

 

Combining kiln cast glass, glazed ceramic, cast bronze and steel wire is a slow and intricate process, but one that I thoroughly enjoy.  Each of these materials has their own technical challenges.  Engineering the connections between these materials, to seamlessly meld the components, is like working out a three-dimensional puzzle. In contrast, the initial design and sculpting process starts out with fluid spontaneity, as I shape and carve the clay or wax to capture the essence of my subject.

 

When I combine these materials I’m drawn to the interplay of glass’ transparency, as opposed to the opaqueness of ceramics and bronze.  The metal and stone-like clay, give my sculpture the feeling of the strength in a tree or a mountain.  The transparent glass reflects the ethereal quality of our ecosystem.  The wire baskets are a symbol of protection.  The figures protect what’s vulnerable.

 

By bringing a feeling of the wild spaces into my art, I hope the viewer will hear the voice of nature, reminding us that we all need to take care of the wild, so future generations may know the wonders of the natural world.

 

 

Earthly Delights – Can You Smell the Rain? exhibit by Crista Matteson

Blog post written by Cynthia Hibbard

 

Shift Gallery

matteson_garden-in-her-hair

At Shift Gallery through Oct. 1

By Cynthia Hibbard

Crista Matteson’s garden and her love for combining materials with the human form have grown together over the years—literally—into a style of sculpture that is uniquely her own.

It’s distinction and maturity are well represented in her current Shift show, Can You Smell the Rain?

That’s the question Matteson asked herself as she paused one day in the midst of gardening to savor the freshness of rain in the air.  “I was flooded with that warm fuzzy feeling that other people might get from the smell of apple pie,” she said.  “Rain does it for me.”

As she’d been working on ceramic busts from live models at the time, she decided finish them as characters that seemed to spring from the earth, covered with leaves and sprouting twigs and vines and mushrooms and birds—in the form of elaborate headdresses and body…

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Finding Humor in the Dark

The impetus for this current work was the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of my favorite authors. With his death I decided to read everything he’d written. This led me to realize how much I am drawn to the art of story telling. Not just the fantastical tales of the magical realist authors, but also stories of a time past by authors like Wendell Barry. As a parent, I find I am drawn to young adult fiction, coming of age stories and fairy tales, left in their original grotesque forms. I spend time listening to the many storytellers on public radio. My art career began in theater, working as a costume designer. This current series draws from all these sources for inspiration to weave together my own visual narratives. The installation piece, feels to me, much like a stage set, complete with actors, in a world of unknown flora and fauna.

 

The technical challenge of combining components of kiln cast lead crystal, ceramics and cast bronze is exciting to me. Each material has it’s own particular beauty and strength. New to this series, I have also added textiles and significantly increased the scale. Working with figures that are up to life size allowed me to linger on the details. The figure sculpting process was often slow and thoughtful working from a model or photographs. The botanicals were completely spontaneous, without a definite plan other than gathering interesting leaves from my garden and pressing them into the clay. I enjoyed working in these two contrasting methods.

 

My hope is to create work that has a visually intriguing impact on the viewer, an impact that stands up to the illusive nature of the narrative.

cast glass – bronze – ceramic