Matt Clarke

Artist Statement

My work is a study of nature. It's complexity and self-symmetry, it's force and fragility, and it’s omnipresence and intricacy. I work with images from many different levels, from microscopic biology through to macroscopic geology. They all come together in the paintings, referencing each other, illuminating the all-encompassing natural forces within which we are part. 

Very little contact is made with brush on canvas, although the marks produced through experimentation are premeditated. This application of the paint is very important. Teasing the nature of the paint to represent nature, possibly the most truthful way that nature can be painted. Systems such as dripping, pouring, spraying, crumbling, natural phenomena and chemical reactions all involving an element of chance or “chaos” are used to create order. It is this balance between the two that is vitally important. 
 
Rock structures are sometimes used to convey the power and majesty of the natural world inherent in their form. This is emphasised by the format of the work and the chaotic application of the paint. The forms are solid and oppressive, yet a lot of the marks are quite fluid. The titles of the paintings tend to be named after the climbing routes or area that the compositions were taken from. 

Most recently I have been working with satellite photography of depleting ice caps, flood plains and scorched landscapes. Recent events related to climate change have led me to study these areas in particular. I'm fascinated by the beauty of the images yet daunted by their implication. 

The mood and emotion that the work emits is very much related to its source and I rely upon this to complete a painting. The work comes alive at a point in the painting process; it is when this sensation occurs that I know the painting is completed.