Janine Matthews

The manipulation of essential qualities within textiles and lumber in my current body of work is influenced by the legacy conveyed to me by my mother, and by numerous other makers and artists in my family.

This artistic enquiry explores the processes and motivation encompassing my recent exhibition, A Family Legacy. After 8 years of undergraduate and graduate study, as well as a recent journey through representational self-portraiture enhanced by circumspect abstract detail, I did not expect to be employing familial roots in an exhibition of works heavily influenced by art, craft and making. I cannot disavow my hereditary heritage; I am unable to eschew ancestral influence, especially the close family members in my life who were accomplished makers, artisans and artists. As a marked contrast to my creative investigations of the past 4 years, I feel compelled to reconsider my original artistic roots. If not for craft, my personal career in fine art would likely never have evolved.

I inherited a great legacy from familial craftsmen and seamstresses. Craft was a family staple; art a secondary influence. Out of this influence of a long line of familial crafts persons and makers, my craft skills led to an artistic practice, which subsequently inspired my personally fulfilling revisitation of craft elements in my current body of work. The making and experience that comes after the choosing of tactile and visually appealing materials are the most important elements to me. It feeds my body and soul, emphasised by my personal need to make and embellish.

Each piece in this body of work begins with a desire to mould and manipulate raw material, whether it be wood, fabric or paint. I am drawn to burlap as an inexpensive natural medium that is so full of potential for both 2 and 3-dimensional work, often enhanced by an enduring grid pattern which represent a solid framework, a network that holds everything together. A grid signifies a journey and a delineation. It is the matrix for modernity, the arena of artesian endeavours, a blueprint for life. This method of decoration also references family ties; how we are all inextricably woven and bound together. Warp and weft represent a union, an inextricable weaving of thin, delicate fibres that on their own are fragile, yet when bound together in a criss cross pattern become strong as one.

Like family, like heritage; our legacy. We are inextricably intertwined with our ancestors and the ways they occupied their time. We are our mother’s daughters. We are our father’s sons.

Website: www.janinematthews.art