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ELAINE MATTHEWS (article first published : 2004-05-31)

Elaine Matthews is a painter, environmental artist, ceramic sculptor and art teacher who has recently opened up the Fine Art Academy in Morningside. She will exhibit her paintings and some ceramic sculpture at the Cupboard Gallery Space in June.

The narrative paintings reveal her investigations into the multi-faceted nature of existence. The works chart the realms of the unconscious dream world by using symbols both deeply personal and mythical. They are intended as a celebration of nature and the metaphysical - life, love, procreation and spirituality.

Her style is both painterly and detailed. The manner in which dreamlike, symbolic elements are juxtaposed with those of the everyday is reminiscent of Latin American Magical Realism.

Forest Cathedral celebrates the pathways of the soulís journey. It is an attempt to reveal the search for ecstasy as a serious spiritual undertaking. The cathedral of trees recalls the over-arching columns of Europeísí Gothic cathedrals, which echoed ancient sacred groves.

The creation myths of many cultures tell of the sea as source of life in Delphys. In this watery genesis, humans and animals move in unison to the rhythms of the primal sea and storm.

Moment of Conception explores the idea of the Tree of Life. The embryonic soul of the child slowly unfurls itself, as the loverís embrace in the branches of the tree above.

A number of recurring themes are united in Lovers in the Labyrinth - the tree of Life, the Labyrinth, the lovers and water. The lovers meet at the entrance to the labyrinth, through which they are about to undertake the journey towards marriage, which takes place in the sacred centre.

In And they Danced to Hear News of the Birth of the Child, dancers release wild birds into the evening sky, which is pregnant with a pending storm. They are dancing to celebrate new life, new potential.

Water of Life features a ceramic baptismal font, the base of which is formed by forest trees, the bowl representing the ocean where the lovers entwine in endless embrace.

The exhibition opens at 18h30 on June 2. The Cupboard Gallery is situated at HOME on the corner of Innes and Windemere Roads in Morningside.




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