Peter Matthews’ approach to art-making is entirely unique: he travels the world, ocean to ocean, where he creates a make-shift drawing-table/flotation-device upon which he will abscond himself – for hours at a time – in the ocean, recording what he sees and experiences in a stream-of-consciousness manner.
His works are thereafter torn into shreds upon the beach, where he sits throughout the day restitching the works into complete pieces to be mounted upon a canvas when he returns to his native UK. Through the simplicity of the works, Matthews comments as much on performance and ‘the conceptual’ as he does the two-dimensional picture plane. For these paintings are about man’s inability to recapture the momentary sublime held in the vastness of nature, the bleak romanticism in the ocean as it consumes and intoxicates.
Through extended hours (sometimes up to 12 hours adrift, alone at sea,) Matthews works in real time through a very direct approach and immediate relationship with the ocean, where it becomes evident that his process is so much less about craftsmanship or material and much more about an idea connected to nature and personal spirituality.
There is an immediacy and connectivity in Matthews’ practice that articulates something that a painting cannot – for a painting is about production, and these drawings are not about the artist’s studio or statement: they are about a place and moment in time. He often pairs his works with videos which offer the most straightforward documentation of a practice defined by its very indefiniteness, and the presence of video may be more apt to contextualize something beautiful and profound that art-making may not be able to fully explain.