Born 1969, Smithton, Tasmania
Although of cordial personal disposition, Matthew Calvert's wooden sculptures have a temperament of unmistakable hostility. Labouring on the English/French channel tunnel with Irish workmates for several months in 1990, Calvert was moved by their spirit, and drawn with fascination to the culture of violence in Northern Ireland. It was not the conflict itself which engaged him, but the driving passions and belligerence of its participants. The response of people to violence – moreso than violence per se.
Early attempts to deal with this subject produced elegant and formal structures of wood, glass and steel – abstractions full of deception, concealment and closure. Calvert's most recent sculpture functions as a barricade which assaults and offends this aesthetic, rendering itself unapproachable through gross physical attributes alone. Its spirit however, is open. As art, it is naked and vulnerable.
That objects engender a life of their own, is a truism of visual culture. The methodical employment of reductive and minimal principles in visual art, invariably rigorous, is often productive of expressionist and poetic effects. It is a phenomenon of such work that these (and other) qualities can be reified, through the ardent adherence to values, over time.
Ross Wolfe from his Samstag essay, Chaos in Heavean
1994 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
1994 MFA, Goldsmiths College, London, UK
1993 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Tasmanian School of Art, University of Tasmania