“Every mark is the RIGHT mark!” — (Mathie) Regarding trusting yourself when creating art.
”If it leads to creativity, trust and love, I’m in!” — (Mathie)
”Think higher, feel deeper,” — (Elie Wiesel)
"You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it." — Albert Einstein
Earth & Ocean — Sculpture by Christopher Mathie
“Breathe — Humpback Whale”
Upcycled Materials Sculpture, 14h x 59w x 36d in.
Process: The Earth & Ocean Arts Festival was the catalyst that led me to explore sculpting with upcycled plastics and packaging from the art studio. I was thinking about how I could put less plastic in the landfill that comes directly from my own art studio practice. Paint jars, plastic wrap to cover paint palettes, wrapping that covers our canvases, almost everything we use comes in some kind of packaging. I thought what if that was the raw material that I sculpted from.
I started by sorting all the studio debris (clean trash) that could go inside my sculptures to create volume. I then banded it all together and covered it with gesso. I painted the surface like one of my canvases, then varnished for a protective coating. The result was fine art sculpture with an archival, museum quality finish...yet filled with all that plastic that would have ended up in the landfill. I’m proud to have found a way to upcycle, and reuse plastic in a positive way!
The problem: Related to plastics in the ocean I read an article about a dead whale recently found to be filled with 88 pounds of plastics, another with over 1000 pieces of plastic in its belly, and another with over 80 plastic bags in its stomach. It’s estimated 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and these are the ones found. Approximately 1 million sea birds also die from plastic per year. (Source: NationalGeographic.com)
Shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year. This translates to about a million bags every minute across the globe, or 150 bags a year for every person on Earth. And the number is rising. (Source: OceanCrusaders.org)
Additionally, in August 2016, I saw a beached adolescent humpback whale right next to the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal in Washington, right by my house. It died and was thought to have starved, which can be caused by ingesting plastics that impedes digestion, leading to starvation. Seeing this first hand in my own neighborhood really impacted me. When you see something with your own eyes, it’s hard to not take the problem seriously. I’m committed to use less plastic, upcycling / recycling whenever possible.
About this sculpture: I like the idea that we don’t always have to think the way we have in the past, especially when it comes to problem-solving. One of my favorite quotes is, "You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it." — Albert Einstein.
Sometimes opening your mind means seeing things in a less concrete way. For me sculpting a subject that is morphing into other subjects is a cue that not everything is black and white. Sometimes there’s not just one answer to a question and we have to think outside the box for solutions. We have to allow our minds to be malleable. To create a sculpture like this one can’t have an exact plan or map…I allowed the piece to evolve in an intuitive way. At one moment it seemed like an elk or cow head, then a bird started to appear, then an antler, was it elk or moose? Or was it tree, or coral? You see the point was to not control the process allowing for surprises...maybe the solution to resolve the piece was something brand new that I could not have arrived at by planning. The answer was unknowable, until it was known. I believe “Transforming Psyche” happens gradually, but can even occur on a global level.
On the Cannon Beach Gallery Group website
Museum of Northwest Art,
Standing in front of my painting, “Guides & Teachers.” Christopher Mathie with Stefano Catalani, Executive Director at Gage Academy of Art. He was this year’s juror for the museum auction. Thanks for including my piece!
“Seeking Balance” (Personal Statement)
What do yoga, playing piano, petting my dog, and painting have in common?
They are all practices that I’ve found release stress and focus my energy. They are active ways that I consciously know will produce balance in my body, both physically and mentally. I can reach a similar state of flow in any of these four ways.
As I’ve come to realize this, I know my intention in life at age 46, is to find balance… to live in harmony. I spent many years floundering, wishing I knew how to be peaceful and yet knowing I was FULL of angst. Maybe it’s just the natural sequence as we age that we become more gentle, more loving, more at one with the world. Whatever it is, I’m grateful to finally feel more at ease.
This is a photo of me doing yoga in the Pacific Ocean on Kauai a few years ago. It was November when the humpback whales were there to breed and calve. While doing my tree pose I was watching whales breach. I kept thinking I'm meditating in whale water. Experiences like these remind me that I'm just one tiny piece of a vast and magical system and help me know I'm okay in the world... I keep this photo in the art studio to help me remember to continue Seeking Balance.
(Written by Allyn Cantor, Owner of White Bird Gallery, after visiting Mathie studio while this collection was in process).
Above are installation images from current Mathie solo show. Runs thru Oct 20th, 2018.
For some the piece below has been a challenging painting to look at, so I've decided to share what it's about. "A Strong Man," 80 x 20 inches, by Mathie. Over the past six months I've been interviewing people and creating art from these dialogues. The writing here tells you a bit of the story. You may see this piece in my current show, "Seeking Balance," runs thru Oct 20th, at White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach, OR.
February — Howard/Mandville Gallery, Kirkland, WA "Contemporary Showcase — Group Show"
March — Howard/Mandville Gallery, Kirkland, WA "A Sense of Place — Group Show"
June — Museum of Northwest Art (MoNA) annual auction.
Preview Party, Friday, June 15th
Auction, Saturday, June 16th. I'll have paintings in both live & silent auction.
July-August — Childhood's End Gallery, Olympia, WA "Coastal Paintings"
Opens July 20 — Aug 26
September-October — White Bird Gallery, Cannon Beach, OR "Abstraction & Coastal Paintings"
Below is a full page ad for Gallery Mack in the upcoming 2017-18 edition of 'Where Guest Book Seattle' — an annual, in-room, coffee table book that introduces visitors to the essence of the city — distributed exclusively in 15,200 upscale hotel rooms around Seattle, Eastside & South Sound and reaching 1.6 million readers.
"I believe in a kind, generous WORLD. One where if I do my part, continuing to pour love, strength, compassion and creativity into the world, I will ALWAYS be taken care of. I will have more than enough. And I will know love, because above all... I am made of LOVE."
This award is given annually for five years, based on merit and is a $50K grant and opportunity to show at the Frye Art Museum!
Opens Saturday, March 11th, 2017
Runs through April 2nd
NEW PAINTINGS BY QUINCY ANDERSON, SUSAN FAUST, CHUCK GUMPERT
TRACEY LANE & CHRISTOPHER MATHIE.
ALSO SCULPTURE BY MELANIE FERGUSON & LEO OSBORNE
Inspired by the garden, the work is largely tactile and boldly colorful.
One piece went to Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland, WA.
About Mathie’s Dynamic Coastal Paintings:
Christopher Mathie is a vibrant regional painter well known for his dynamic abstractions that reference coastal landscapes. His warm style is a result of trusting personal artistic mark making, allowing pure color, texture, line and form to be distilled into essential elements. Mathie creates many large canvases of coastal-inspired renderings, as well as thoughtful smaller works that reference local subjects like the interplay of water and rocks or a crab on the cusp of sand and sea. In his spirited abstractions, Mathie conveys a realm that exists somewhere between reality and imagination.
Mathie's mixed media paintings are filled with energetic movement, fluid emotion, and bold confident brushwork, as the artist builds up layer after layer of textural paint to achieve complicated coloration and highly activated tactile surfaces. Deconstructing his subjects to their most important lines and organic forms Mathie's intriguing canvases invite viewers to engage very personally with his painterly attributes.
The Washington-state artist is widely recognized in the Pacific Northwest with over two-decades of exhibition history. His paintings have been exhibited nationally and are included in private and corporate collections nationally and internationally.
Written by Allyn Cantor, Owner of White Bird Gallery, Cannon Beach, OR
Below is the front of the gallery postcard. Opens Aug 12th.
*Above full page ad appeared in the August, 2016, edition of American Art Collector Magazine.
For more info: www.monamuseum.org/event/2016-mona-art-auction
"Painting, to me, is a practice... kind of like meditation. Some days you get somewhere, some days it is just the act of painting, moving, mixing and being. The results are not important... it is the act of doing that matters. The rewards will come in spirit, in strength, in healing. And sometimes you will have a good painting too, the rest get painted over." (Mathie)
Full page ad in the Nov. edition of "Southwest Art Magazine," page 21. Courtesy of White Bird Gallery, Cannon Beach, OR. For my solo show that was Nov 7, through Jan 5, 2016. Thank you!!!
Published in: Coast Explorer Fall/Winter 2012, Written by Veronica Russell
Christopher Mathie paints in a style he calls "emotional semi-abstraction." His work can be seen at a variety of Pacific Northwest galleries, including Gallery 903 in Portland, Gallery Mack in Seattle, Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland and White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach.
Artist Christopher Mathie has not always been so unafraid to express himself. Admittedly, the prominent Northwest artist's early work was somewhat stifled by his own fears: fears of offending the public, fears of not being able to sell his work, fears of exposing himself too much in his art. However, according to Mathie, his recent work has taken a serious turn in tone.
A recent exhibit called "Conversation Pieces" is an exploration of the human mind and body that allowed him to take off the mask and explore in ways that might not always be comfortable. "Art reflects life on all levels," he says, "and our experiences aren't all lovely."
Mathie's journey to a finished piece includes many layers, each another step on the path to completion. It is during his final layer, though, being the most visible to the viewer, that he is most concerned with his emotional state of mind. Every mark carries the energy of the artist, each mark exposes the attitude, the opinions, even the strength or weakness of the painter. He spends as much time preparing himself physically and intellectually as he does actually painting. "I have to be willing to let my emotions be viewed publicly through my work," he says, "to create confident looking and feeling pieces."
Mathie defines his style as "Emotional Semi-Abstraction" and his technique helps him exhibit that style. "I paint quickly and spontaneously," he says, "in a style that favors intuition." Often, Mathie will scatter photos around his work space, images that he's collected through the years, as he paints. He uses these images as inspirational inanimate muses as he works, interpreting bits and pieces from each photo, (or each emotion the photo elicits), onto his canvas as he builds his painting.
Mathie is quick to point out that he does not attempt to paint realism. "I truly believe reality is over rated... highly subjective," he says. Using only these bits and pieces of reality, he allows the rest of his piece to be more abstract, leaving the viewer with an important role in the painting: interpretation.
Individuals react to art based on their own collection of memories and experiences. Some are repelled by a piece that others are quite attracted to. Mathie says a good piece of art will offer the viewer an opportunity to interpret as they see fit, and he does not like to spoon feed a particular message to his viewers. "I prefer to make work that requires thinking and participation," he says. "I think people are smart and sophisticated. They like to be engaged, challenged to participate and question."