Matthew Wood RCA is a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy. He completed an MA in Painting at The School of Art, Aberystwyth University and has exhibited at MOMA Wales, the John Moores 25 at the Walker Art Gallery, and galleries in the UK.
“My first experience of painting in a historic building was Powis Castle; I never forget the wintery light, the cold and the silence. It was shut down for winter at the time and I was left on my own with the creaks of floorboards and wind blowing outside, which added so much to the experience of painting.
To me the most interesting elements of a house are the overlooked areas – the servants corridors, side kitchens, staircase landings and store rooms. Places like Rodd House that haven’t been lived in for years, Gwydir Castle with its winding corridors and ‘Ghost room’ and Erddig Hall with its servants corridor all convey such an irresistible atmosphere and sense of place.
My influences include Vermeer, Hammershoi, Sickert and Ken Howard all of which capture the light and atmosphere of the interior in their work so well.
The use of perspective and light is a dominant theme in all of my work, the use of which enables a painting to come to life. As a starting point a view must be memorable, distinctive and inspirational whether it be an overlooked corridor or hidden valley – with the process of looking and determining composition sometimes taking place several years before a painting is actually made.
Initially working from direct observation I work swiftly, producing paintings on location and in one sitting be they landscape or interior sometimes generating up to four paintings a day. These works are small scale for reasons of practicality, especially when working in the landscape and when walking considerable distances over mountainous terrain, or when crammed into a corner to obtain a view to a window or through a doorway. This process is the basis of my practice where I have developed a method and technique that is both expressive and direct. The challenge of creating a successful painting in sometimes-adverse conditions – from rain and snowstorm to darkened corridor or church also adds to the experience of the process of painting. Recently, circumstances caused by the pandemic have meant that I have had to work from a combination of source materials – original paintings and digital photography – in the studio thus enabling me to revisit locations and to rework, tweak and expand on themes.”