About The Artist
Sharlé Matthews' career in art and art education has spanned over two decades, and she has taught and lectured at various institutions. Sharlé has had 4 solo exhibitions and taken part in over 60 group shows. In 2009 she won second place in the sculpture category at the Florence Biennale.
Although her early training was in painting, over the years, Matthews has experimented with different media, techniques, materials, and explored various themes in her work."I have dealt with a variety of issues in my work. Exploring Jung's concepts of us all having a set of internal blueprints of what it is to be human, San Pictographs and the symbolism therein, death and the beauty in death, vulnerability, skin colour and aspects of language and identity are just some of the themes I explore."
Matthews has recently returned to painting. "Right now I am working with more simple abstract shapes and subdued colour and attempt to state the essence of an experience in a personalised way. Anything abandoned, discarded, used and worn appeals to me...and my sense of nostalgia." Matthews recently discovered a floor in a nearby market that has resulted in her rethinking the concept of beauty and expression. "This floor is made up of abandoned bits of weathered construction boards. Each piece is worn, faded and chipped, drilled and painted. Each piece seems to have a history of its own...yet lying side by side forms a unified and complex whole."My wish is to achieve the same with my painting. This is a contradiction of course...the floor just happened, my paintings are manipulated."
A brief stay on Robben Island during an educational exchange has also had an effect on Matthews' latest works. "There is something deeply moving, inspirational and troubling about the Island. It is removed from the mother country, reflecting the fact that it has been used as a place of separation and banishment. The extraordinary views of the mainland, contrasted with the physical harshness of the island, the sounds of the screeching birds mingled with those of the sea, abandoned buildings and modified fauna, together with the history of the Island had a strong impact on my thoughts and emotions." This physically embodies and collectively bears testament to the Island’s layered symbolism. This is something she tries to convey in her works, even in those that don't visually represent the Island.
This all results in a process of layering colour, tone, line, textures and images, some of which are eventually covered up and revealed , often only partially at a later stage through scraping and scratching the surface of the work. In this way a "history" of both thought and paint manipulation eventually convey an often nostalgic , always personal, abstracted image. "Knowing when to STOP painting, is often my biggest challenge, just as in conversation and interaction with others...knowing when to back off or just be silent takes years of practice."
Website of South African Artists