Artist statement

Between the self and the world there exists an osmotic relationship. Materials, objects, environments and the perceiving self interpenetrate and mutually define one another through a subtle outpouring and reception of energies and resonance. 

Anni Albers noted the sensitive connection between material and maker, speaking of how certain aspects of a given material ‘catches’ and ‘speaks’ to an artist, suggesting methods, structures and potentialities to be explored. Materials hold their own energies and intelligence, they do not exist as some inert substance to be shaped solely by the will and preconceived design of an artist or craftsman. But, rather there is a give and take, a coming to an understanding of what the material wants and will allow to be done. The artist communes with this material intelligence, searches out and follows these flows of energy and responds during the act of making.

Through a lengthy process of layering, compacting and polishing my works bring the inherent property of graphite’s shine to its material limits. This concentration of activity and densification of material yields a surface which is mercurial and highly reflective whilst still maintaining an accretion of tactile gesture and evidence of the working process. 

As objects of aesthetic contemplation, my works are aimed at perception and experience more so than intellect and concept. Materially and perceptually they inhabit and present opposed states simultaneously: tactility & atmosphere, solidity & transience, light & darkness, presence & absence, surface, reflection, depth… these states are brought together in a holistic aesthetic experience through the work, its environment and the movement of the viewer.”


Mathew Allen (1981) has studied at the Sydney College of the Arts. He has held international studio residencies at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris and at the Mark Rothko Art Centre in Daugavpils, Latvia. His works are held in the collections at Artbank, Ipswich Art Gallery, the Wallace Arts Trust (New Zealand), the Mark Rothko Art Centre (Latvia), and in private collections throughout Australia and Europe. Allen lives and works in Amsterdam.

Curriculum vitae (PDF opens in new tab)

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