Colin Matthes’ art is rooted in improvisation and resourcefulness. As a young man growing up in a remote, rural area, Matthes learned to work with whatever was at hand. In 2011 he was living on Ireland’s desolate west coast, and began cataloguing the skills and information he’d need to survive without outside help. This inspired Matthes’ ongoing series of “Essential Knowledge” drawings, which cover everything from surviving shark and grizzly attacks or escaping a riptide to reading body language and the safe way to move a heavy object. More recently he has been drawing without an agenda, using the quiet hours after his children’s bedtime to let his pencil or brush roam freely with his imagination. With this unfettered approach, Matthes finds that (in his young daughter’s words) “the days go by like wildness.”
Top of page: Colin Matthes, Untitled, 2023. Graphite on paper, 9 x 12 in.
Above, left to right: Colin Matthes, Making a Horseshoe Pack, (2011-15), ink on paper; Ninja Walk (2021-22), ink and watercolor on paper. Both 23.5 x 16.5 in.