Elaine Matthews

Country: South Africa
 

Title:  Quest - A Journey into Sacred Space (detail)

Medium: Installation





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Matthews received her BA in Fine Art from the University of Durdan Westville, South Africa and is currently registered for her MA degree at Rhodes University. She has taught part-time at the Community Arts Workshop and Ibis Art School in Durban, and has been employed as a full-time lecturer in the Fine Art Department at the University of Fort-Hare. In 1995 Matthews travelled through Europe and the Middle East visiting museums, galleries, and sacred sites. In 1998 she did the same in Paris, staying at the Cite' Nationale des Artes.

Matthews is a painter and a site-specific installation artist. The focus of her art is to create an awareness of the Sacred in Nature. She is concerned with re-evaluating the relationship between spirituality and ecology, humanity and the environment. Her site-specific works are often situated in wild and sacred places, and are of a temporary nature. Quest - A Journey into Sacred Space was made in the beautiful landscape outside of Nieu-Bethesda with specific features to engage the viewers as participants. An entry portal in the shape of a mandalla was woven with plants, bones, and pods -- symbols of life, death, and renewal. Four horn-shaped sculptures aligned to the cardinal points were made of iron, sneeze-wood, and glass on which poems by Brian Walter were written. The third stage of the quest was four mandorlas set into the veld soil, each containing or symbolizing one of the four elements: water, fire, earth, and air.

Her selected exhibitions include: !Xoe Site Specific Project, Nieu-Bethesda, organised by Ibis Gallery and Rhodes University Fine Art Department, 1998; Renaissance, Department of Arts and Culture, Rhodes University, 1998; Cuyler Street Gallery, Port Elizabeth, 1998; Woodlands Restaurant, Hogsback, 1997; Annual Hogsback Art Festival, 1996 and 97; Gallery on Tyrone, Johannesburg, 1994; Standard Bank Gallery, Albany Museum, Grahamstown, 1993; and Grahamstown Festival, 1993.
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