Artwork exhibit initiatives the human situation onto Saint John streetscapes


Paul Mathieson’s new exhibition started with walks round Uptown Saint John.

In a pre-pandemic world, he sketched, took images and jotted notes of inspiration. Then, like everybody else, the British-born artist discovered himself restricted to the visible parameters of his house.

“When you’re in your room and also you’re locked down, so to talk, you have to discover different sources [of inspiration] to introduce to what you are doing,” he stated.


In his house on the Kingston Peninsula, he mixed his observations with a spread of influences: from Pablo Picasso’s ink work Don Quixote to the cult-classic science fiction collection Fringe.

The result’s his new exhibition: Straight On And On The Degree – However The Artist Is not, which opened on the Spicer Merrifield Gallery in Saint John on Oct. 14.

Mathieson’s work “Have you ever Learn the Information Right now.” A lot of his inspiration got here from occasions he watched or examine within the information. (Courtesy of Spicer Merrifield Gallery)

The present is crammed with artwork to be deciphered and interpreted, set in opposition to a backdrop of acquainted Saint John settings.

The most effective description of his work is one thing his spouse Victoria stated to him at some point within the studio.

“While you’re a portray, like this one right here, it is like a ebook,” he recalled her saying. “However you are not getting the sequential motion, as you do get via a ebook – web page one to 343. What you get is the entire gamut of the factor in a single house.”

WATCH | Paul Mathieson explains the inspirations behind his work:

Artwork exhibit makes use of Saint John streetscapes to review the human situation

New Brunswick-based painter Paul Mathieson attracts from myriad influences and common human experiences to create work rooted in Saint John.

Advanced photos with common themes

Mathieson was born in 1949 and raised close to Newcastle upon Tyne in England. Ten days after he and his spouse married in 1975, they moved to Saint John. Previous to retiring in 2006, Mathieson taught artwork at varied colleges within the space.

All through a long time of portray, his work has at all times modified.

A man stands in a gallery between his artwork, his arms are folded and he looks into the camera.
Mathieson was born in England and holds a grasp’s diploma in artwork and schooling from the College of London. (Lane Harrison/CBC)

“Picasso stated, ‘Artists are the best thieves, the crime they commit is after they steal from themselves,'” Mathieson stated.

“And what he meant by that’s that you do not repeat your self. You do not get onto a treadmill and produce the identical product of a vase of flowers advert nauseam. You progress on.”

Except for different artwork and media, he stated this work comes from “life, individuals, all of the issues I see, issues I see on the road, issues I see within the information, the politics of the world, generally it is determined, and I sort of stroll that skinny line of hope and despair.”

A painting of multiple figures in front of a wall filled with posters.
Mathieson’s work “Everyone’s Speaking At The Similar Time.” He stated his work are complicated however the themes inside them will not be. (Courtesy of Spicer Merrifield Gallery)

“I admitted there is a complexity to the work,” Mathieson stated. “However on the entire, the concepts will not be that complicated.”

Drawing inspiration from all over the place

Paul Mathieson’s “The Arrival.” He stated the portray grew out of a small picture he noticed in The Guardian. (Courtesy of Spicer Merrifield Gallery)

One in all his new works, “The Arrival” grew out of a small picture in The Guardian newspaper. His brother receives the paper day by day, and some occasions a 12 months will mail Mathieson a group of clippings that may curiosity him.

In one among them, he noticed a picture of two troopers hoisting one other on their shoulders.

The {photograph} reminded him of the Biblical Parable of the Prodigal Son, the place the daddy celebrates his son’s return. He started to sketch the picture and paired it with {a photograph} he’d taken of the Maritime Bus terminal.

“After which I started to elaborate that concept with what occurs when anyone arrives.”

A painting of a man being lifted onto the shoulders of a man and woman.
The picture that grew into “The Arrival.” Mathieson stated his work can start with small embryos or giant ideas. (Lane Harrison/CBC)

Mathieson thinks it is vital that the background of a portray displays the concepts within the foreground. In “The Arrival” the scene takes place in entrance of a enterprise referred to as Six Fingers.

The identify got here from a six finger hand print featured within the introduction to the tv collection fringe.

“And I believed, whenever you’re arriving again from a journey…there is a sort of reward. So there’s an addition to what has occurred earlier than.”

A painting of a blue and yellow establishment called six fingers, with a logo that is a handprint with six fingers.
The six fingers concept was impressed by the tv collection “Fringe” and represents the addition of one thing after a journey. (Lane Harrison/CBC)

All through the exhibition, Mathieson reinforces his themes via avenue artwork and posters inside his streetscapes.

In a single piece, a lyric from Bob Dylan’s 2001 music Mississippi is paraphrased on the wall. The graffiti reads: everybody’s obtained to maneuver, if they don’t seem to be already there.

“I do not really feel responsible about [copying] that in any respect, as a result of he truly stole the road from a Japanese poem.”

A close up of a painting shows painted graffiti that reads
Mathieson paraphrased the road pictured from a Bob Dylan music, however he stated he is not feeling responsible about it as a result of Dylan himself lifted it from a Japanese poem. (Contributed by Spicer Merrifield Gallery)

Beneath the black lettering is a weathered poster portraying Picasso’s Don Quixotewhich represents the hunt that precedes an arrival.

Reflecting and looking out ahead

A Saint John streetscape filled with people dancing, hugging and looking happy.
Mathieson’s work “Public Dancers.” The work was impressed by reflections on the advances of the LGBTQ group throughout his lifetime. (Contributed by the Spicer Merrifield Gallery)

One other work within the exhibition, Viewers Dancersoffers with sexuality.

The portray comes from reflections on the acceptance of the LGBTQ group he is witnessed in his lifetime and the catalyst was the marriage of his niece, who’s lesbian.

The portray is a celebration of that acceptance.

Mathieson sits in the course of it, studying The Telegraph Journal. On the duvet, the identify Martin O’Malley is seen. A nod to the journalist who as soon as wrote “There is not any place for the state within the bedrooms of the nation” in a column in The Globe and Mail, a line later borrowed and made well-known by former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

A painting of a man in a beanie reading the newspaper.
Mathieson in one among his work. The identify Martin O’Malley references the journalist who coined the well-known quote: “There is not any place for the state within the bedrooms of the nation.” (Lane Harrison/CBC)

Within the high left nook, a lady climbs out of a second story window.

“That is anyone wanting to return out…and take part, turn out to be a part of it,” he stated.

A painting of a women climbing out of a red window next to a large sign that reads
A girl climbs out of a window to represent popping out in a portray celebrating the acceptance of the LGBTQ group in trendy society. (Lane Harrison/CBC)

This piece additionally features a poster depicting David Hockney’s 1961 We Two Boys Collectively Clingingwhich Hockney described as gay propaganda and painted six years earlier than homosexuality was legalized in England.

A painted tattooed poster shows two abstract red figures embracing.
An outline of David Hockney’s “We Two Boys Collectively Clinging.” The unique work was made earlier than homosexuality was authorized in England. (Lane Harrison/CBC)

Although Mathieson has been portray for about 60 years, he stated his fashion and work will at all times be evolving.

“You do not simply cease, , and I’ve obtained no intention of stopping, in any respect.”

Leave a Comment