||American artist Ross Mattesons bronze
falcons and other works have a timeless appeal that goes beyond their subject matter. Influenced by the bird art of Asian, Egyptian and Northwest
Coast Native American cultures he has applied what he loves in these ancient visual
languages to his own personal love and observation of nature. Daily experience in the Pacific Northwest working closely with
live falcons feeds his inspiration and originality. The close
relationship between his life and art is enhanced further by Mattesons love of
humanity and his desire to communicate metaphorically and above popular trends. His highly refined
style has shown wide cultural appeal, as evidenced by sculpture sales in 16 countries worldwide.
|Matteson's early artistic development is traced to an
interesting and supportive family environment. Formal education at The
Evergreen State College, WA consumated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1980.
A life long resident of Washington State, Ross lives with his wife, Genny, in Olympia, WA. Their daughter, Alanna, also lives in the Pacific Northwest.
Exhibition credits include national and international shows. Of
note, are Gilcrease Museum's (Tulsa OK) Rendezvous two man show, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museums, (Wausau, WI) Birds in Art,
the Prix de West Show at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame (Oklahoma City,
OK) and the Western Visions Show at The National Museum of Wildlife Art (Jackson, WY). Memorable gallery shows in the United States and France, have included
exhibits at Foster/White Gallery (Seattle, WA) and ARTEN (Paris, France).
Matteson was honored as a "Featured Artist" in 1998 at the Pacific Rim Art
Exposition, (Seattle, WA). His pieces Perfect on Petra 1999 and Prairie
Queen are in the collection of The National Museum of Wildlife Art (Jackson, WY). His work has been shown at the Natural History
Museum (London, United Kingdom) and auctioned at Christie's South Kensington. His work can currently be found in his studio located in Olympia, WA and at Astoria Fine Art in Jackson, WY.
My sculpture often interprets a bird or a group of birds in two ways; as a specific biological subject and as a metaphor. The support form or sculptural “environment” for a bird is important because it creates a dialogue with the subject and helps bring my metaphors to light.
I am relentless in carving, forging or sculpting my materials to bring motion and life to the media. I engage in a high level of craftsmanship and work hard to express what I feel is the originality and spiritual essence of my subject and concept. I have pushed and continue to push my materials. I test the bending point, the breaking point, the melting point, the shining point and the roughing point of every bronze, stone or other material that I work with. I test the reflectivity and light absorption of these surfaces in different kinds of light. I then apply this knowledge to reveal a bird’s behavior, its pose, its distilled silhouette, its relevant support form and context, as I feel it can be best described by that media.
A reoccurring theme in my work is the sense of motion and life that can be brought to an inanimate material. Another theme I often explore is a subject’s relationship to its environment. My support forms subtly reflect my primary subject and rhythmically make reference to shapes drawn from within the anatomy of the bird or other subjects. This interconnectedness is a heartfelt subject for me, since environmental issues are dear to my heart and experience.
My visual vocabulary and sense of proportion have been developed with a passion for direct and disciplined observations. My experiences that I draw on include hunting with trained birds of prey. Even though the visual language of my art is often drawn from the wilderness and indigenous cultures of the Northwest, my themes are more broadly inspired by personal experiences throughout the world, contemporary social and political events and environmental trends. Elements of ancient Egyptian and Asian art also influence my work. Contrasting textures are a large part of my compositional pallet. Color is often a secondary consideration. I work in both subtractive and additive sculpting processes, usually for a final result in bronze or stone. My processes include ceramic shell investment for lost wax casting, sand investment casting, fabrication, welding, tooling, polishing, plastering and carving.
My intimate familiarity with birds along with my optimism and care about humanity, provide a plethora of related visual and tactile ideas to address concepts as diverse as: Spontaneity and discipline; Poise under hardship; Confidence and poise; Calm strength; Interdependency and invaluableness; Motion, grace and resistance; The past, present and future; The relationship between nature and humanity; The relationship between a living subject and its environment; War, power, control and balance; Life and death.
Matteson and his work continue to be recognized in print:
City Arts Magazine December 2008 Tacoma edition features Ross in a cover story which is available to read online at:
The Journal of the San Juan Islands , “Acclaimed wildlife artist weaves sculpture, photography, poetry into elegant one man exhibit…” (August, 2005)
Feature article in Persimmon Hill Magazine (Summer, 2002)
The July 1999 issue of Southwest Art magazine features an article about him, with the front cover honoring Matteson's sculpture
titled Maquette. An archieved copy of this article can be found at:
U.S. Art magazine
also featured a story about him in their August 1999 issue.
The Christian Science Journal has an article in
their September 1999 issue, which may be of interest to some collectors.
Wildlife Art Magazine has a story tracing cultural influences
on his work in their January/February 2000 issue.
To view a printable resume and artist statement, please click below:
Ross Matteson Art Resume (PDF)
Ross Matteson Artist Statement (PDF)