James Matthews

Mixed Media

James Matthews is a British maker and art educator, currently working in the UAE. He gained his Master of Fine Art degree from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, and Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons) degree from the University of Humberside. Matthews has been a resident in the UAE since 2007.

Handmade Date Palm Tree Paper Matthews creates his own handmade paper and art materials made from the date palm tree. It is quite possible that there is nowhere else in the world where the date palm tree is more interwoven with human culture than in the UAE. Providing natural shade, food, and materials for building structures and crafting functional objects, the tree can also be used to make paper. The production of the paper relates to themes of culture, environment, and sustainability. Matthews’ cyanotype prints on the artist’s handmade paper were created using the three elements essential to life, survival, and sustenance in the region: date palm trees, water, and sunlight.

Kaaba / Tawaf (relief trompe l’oeil paintings) Matthews creates relief ‘trompe l’oeil’ artworks inspired by the reverse perspective of the fourteenth century Ottoman Turkish illuminated illustrations of the Siyer-i Nebi.

Sounds (woodcuts) The marks, shapes, forms and colours in Matthews’ non-figurative works are made from responses to everyday sounds i.e. street sounds, traffic, cafes, trains, people, music, etc. These sounds provide the stimulus and inspiration. The works are derived from aural stimuli, aspects of memory and responses to an immediate environment and space. Matthews is interested in the ephemeral synchronicity of everyday sounds and the use of the aural to create the visual. His “Sound (woodcuts)” are created using a range of printmaking techniques such as woodcuts, monoprinting, collagraphs, pochoir/stenciling, collage and embossing.

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Corniche (Cityscape)


Siyer-i Nebi IV





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