Clare Matheson attended Auckland University, where she studied for a Bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in Painting. Completing her degree in 2003, Matheson was honoured with the Top Graduand prize for her work. Following this success, Matheson continued her studies, graduating with a Masters of Art (Art and Design) from Auckland University of Technology in 2006.
On the surface, Matheson's works appear Minimalist in their outlook. Her hard-edged forms and bold blocks of colour recall the work of 1960's American proponents of the genre such as Kenneth Noland and Frank Stella. However, Matheson's practice differs greatly in philosophy and content from that of the early Minimalists. Where Minimalism as a style sought to reduce the work of art to its primary values of colour, form, line and texture by emphasising those exact points for their own sake, Matheson's work utilises those primary values in the opposite manner: as conveyors of meaning; each form becoming a symbolic referent rather than simply an aesthetic element.
In Matheson's work, these forms often refer to statistical data,such as the diminution of endemic bird life in New Zealand since 1300 AD. Matheson's use of colour and texture imparts further symbolism to her referents - as a colourist, Matheson chooses to work with tones that convey a particular emotional reaction to the meaning and implication of certain statistics. In this way, Matheson's works are not simply statistical demonstrations, but data analysed and re-presented with an awareness of its implications.
Extrapolated out, Matheson's references to (and treatment of) statistical data in a Minimalist guise allude to the notion of the constant collection of data through surveillance and the way in which surveillance has become a necessary and even accepted part of everyday life. As such, her works provide a comment on the modern 'information society' and the social symptoms of unease and anxiety engendered by the sense that this way of life is not only inexorable, but also inescapable.
*Works are examples only. Please contact us to see what is available