Heather Matthew


Pottsville, Australia

Preferred artistic medium

Collage, Contemporary, Installation Art, Paper Art, Printmaking, Sound Artist, Textile & Fibre Art

Art level career

Mid career


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Artist statement

Paper forms the basis of my art, in collages, artist books and prints. It is both my material and my passion. Stitched paper collages connect to my matrilineal lineage; my mother, grandmother and great aunts whose creative embroideries were founded in the microcosm of their domestic lives. My own artistic expression is not reflected in fine stitching but in the rough and imprefect, with loose threads often tangled and left hanging. These collages embed my thoughts to a time and place and have become my default artistic practice, one to which I return, always surprised by the results.
Papermaking is a vehicle through which I can express complex concepts. Paper has memory and is a carrier of ideas and narratives. Through print and bookmaking I engage with the interstice of art and science, the discourse between the physical and metaphysical, the analogue and digital. This influences my underlying belief in the interconnectedness of all things, time, people, places, the environment and the invisible vibrational waves which connect us to the greater cosmos.
I am fascinated with vibrational waves, of sound, light and energy. Having accidently captured birdsong trills during my recording of the hand papermaking process; these small beads of visible sound became a symbol of environmental collaboration. A segue into this collaboration with nature was forced upon me following the aftermath of ex tropical Cyclone Debbie in March 2017 when I retrieved silt marked papers from my flooded papermaking studio. When responding to these marked papers, I discovered patterns of interconnection; stitching and weaving together mud spatters, stipples and torn prints. Working intuitively with these haptic marks allowed nature to become an active participant in my artmaking practice.
I continue to do this through experimenting with paper as my foundational medium. Folding, manipulating, tearing, stitching and scrunching it to reveal its resilience,
its metamorphosis into more complex emergent forms. It is my vehicle to create personal and political narratives, including works about inclusion, resilience, climate change and the inhumanity of Australia’s treatment of refugees. 

I am open to opportunities to exhibit both in solo shows and group exhibitions including collaborative work especially exhibitions with themes relating to politically engaged and social issues.