Matthew Taverner

About the artist

Matthew was born in Cardiff, Wales in the 1960’s – he remains a mildly neurotic Welshman. Moving to Australia in the early1980’s as an awkward16 year old, his is a storied life of residing and working in 8 countries over the past 30+ years. Such exposure and immersion within the rich, diverse and often contradictory cultures represented in Fiji, the Seychelles, Zambia, Bali, Hong Kong as well as Holland, the UK and Australia; has impacted profoundly on his perspective, his humility and sense of place. There are many stories to tell…

About his work

Matthew’s Air Mail Series are a unique set of compositions. His works impart a symmetry and formality of construction seldom replicated or associated with the fanciful flight of butterflies and other winged insects in their natural habitat. Hatching as often colourful caterpillars, they feed voraciously then pupate- that period of suspended animation, of metamorphosis to ultimately emerge as delicate butterflies and dragonflies, resplendent in a tapestry of vivid colours, markings and elegance.

Such transitions are in part analogous to postage stamps.  Fulfilling a perfunctory purpose in a rapidly changing world, stamps have been affixed and thoughtlessly discarded over centuries – forever to be lost. The efforts of philatelists the world over precludes some of this loss. Avid individuals studiously collect, swap, sort and sequence into albums. Often however, such albums are set aside, akin to a cocoon, seldom seeing daylight save for an occasional glance of admiration and recognition by fascinated fellow collectors.

Matthew’s compositions once again afford a re-purposing for these and an opportunity for revelation. Each composition comprises multiple elements whose form and size can be ambiguous, often indiscernible; their orbits drawing us in and invoking our own innate sense of curiosity. They compel us to interrogate each element closely. Thus we embark on our own personal journey of discovery and reflection – possibly to ponder each original letter that a stamp’s use facilitated and its journey. Be it the delight and reassurance associated with letters to and from loved ones, overseas and absent; omnipresent bills to those suffering financial strife; legal correspondence signalling formality, divorce, loss, angst? Each work further recognises that time when the more mundane functions of society were predominantly communicated by mail and the art of letter writing still carefully practiced and indeed celebrated. It is an art imperilled today, dictated as it is by the need for instant communication and gratification.

Each work is also a metaphor for the artist’s own endeavours to create some semblance of orderly structure and consistency to his and his family’s lives. Such need results from the constant acculturation dictated by four international relocations over just the past four years and how such adaptation and change has required deep resolve and resilience from those closest to him and personally.