Laura Matthews

Disrupted

28 July — 13 August 2021

Lives and works in Sydney

View profile

Represented by nanda\hobbs

Laura Matthews is a critically acclaimed, prize winning artist. Her latest exhibition Disrupted is aptly titled reflecting both the experience of working during a time of Covid and the effect she creates on the canvas. Slade trained with an acute draughtsman’s eye, Matthews deliberately disrupts her rendering of reality, playing with paint, pouring it and exploring the effect of the marks on canvas. The result is a diverse series of paintings unified by this experimental approach, and distinguished by Matthews’ total mastery of the medium.

Research for this exhibition began in 2019 with a trip to Flinders Island, with its own tragic past, to Perth and then to London. Matthews’ 2020 exhibition Tamesis based on the River Thames was cancelled as Covid ripped through London and the whole country was locked down. Recovering from Covid herself, she caught the last flight back to Sydney before international travel ceased. She moved her studio to her home and painted through quarantine and lockdowns as her Sydney show was also postponed. Loss has played its part too, with the death of a close friend and an immanent sense of exile with travel bans and lockdowns making the gulf between her life in Australia and her family in London seem very wide.

This exhibition is a culmination of these experiences, a creative response to chaos, estrangement and loss. Some of its ideas were germinated on Flinders Island, others in London, Perth and Sydney. The result is part research, part memory, part invention: a record of disruption that repurposes it to the artist’s own ends.

There is of course continuity as well as disruption. In 2019 Matthews won the Manning Art Prize for Sea Creatures; nudes in a landscape rendered in such a way that both bodies and landscape seem to share the same essential nature—skin and sea treated with deceptively bold strokes, delineating form with extraordinary sensitivity. In Disrupted, the pictures Eden, Interrupted and the Falls series continue in the same vein. The female nude is contiguous with the landscape, at times almost absorbed, at others fiercely distinct. Admirers of Matthews’ work will also recognise connections between this exhibition and her 2018 exhibition Rivers Roads and Relics in which landscapes are never just landscapes but settings that frame human activity, that demand a human response.

Each painting represents a response to a particular experience. These are paintings which draw attention to paint, to colour, to the marks on the canvas reminding us that what we see is never what is there and yet they are also profoundly moving. In the series of square landscapes “1” to “8”, the visual language is pared down almost to abstraction. In many of the images the natural world seems unreliable, unknowable, human figures where present are dwarfed or absorbed in powerful renditions of landscape. In Disturbed, Fractured, Fragment, The Devil is in the Detail and Twilight Suspended, the landscapes have an alien quality, an unknowability, nature as disruptor.

This is an exhibition of extraordinary images, each one powerful, at once harmonious and disturbing, disrupting expectations, demanding a response.

Dr Nick Browne,
July 2021

\ Exhibition featured works

Laura Matthews

Agitated

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 152.5 X 152.5cm

SOLD

Laura Matthews

Avoidance

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 152.5 x 152.5cm

Laura Matthews

Blue

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 53.5 x 53.5cm

SOLD

Laura Matthews

Destination

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 185.5 x 185.5cm

SOLD

Laura Matthews

Dis-a-ray

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 53.5 x 53.5cm

SOLD

Laura Matthews

Discombobulated

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 53.5 x 53.5cm

Laura Matthews

Disturbed

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 112 x 112cm

Laura Matthews

Eden

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 152.5 x 152.5cm

Laura Matthews

Falls I

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 138 x 138cm

Laura Matthews

Falls II

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 47.5 x 32cm

Laura Matthews

Falls III

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 47.5 x 32cm

Laura Matthews

Falls IV

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 47.5 x 32cm

SOLD

Laura Matthews

Fracture

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 112 x 112cm

Laura Matthews

Fragment

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 150 x 150cm

Laura Matthews

Glacial

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 53.5 x 53.5cm

SOLD

Laura Matthews

Interrupted

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 132 x 132cm

Laura Matthews

Meander

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 132 x 132cm

SOLD

Laura Matthews

Rattled

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 53.5 x 53.5cm

SOLD

Laura Matthews

Rock and a Hard Place

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 112 x 112cm

Laura Matthews

Stratified

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 152.5 x 152.5cm

Laura Matthews

Studies I

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 50.5 x 50.5cm

Laura Matthews

Studies II

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 50.5 x 50.5cm

Laura Matthews

Studies III

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 50.5 x 50.5cm

Laura Matthews

Studies IV

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 50.5 x 50.5cm

Laura Matthews

Studies V

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 50.5 x 50.5cm

Laura Matthews

Studies VI

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 50.5 x 50.5cm

Laura Matthews

The Devil's in the Details

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 152.5 x 152.5cm

Laura Matthews

Troubled Waters

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 152.5 x 152.5cm

Laura Matthews

Twilight Suspended

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 152.5 x 152.5cm

Laura Matthews

Twist

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 53.5 x 53.5cm

SOLD

Laura Matthews

Unforseen

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 152.5 x 152.5cm

Laura Matthews

Wandering

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 53.5 x 53.5cm

SOLD

Laura Matthews

\ Installation Photo

Laura Matthews

\ Installation Photo

Laura Matthews

\ Installation Photo

Laura Matthews

\ Installation Photo

Laura Matthews

postponed

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 53.5 x 53.5cm

SOLD

Laura Matthews

unchartered waters

2021 \ Oil on canvas \ 185.5 x 185.5cm

\ Other exhibitions

Marie Mansfield

AS IT IS

17 November — 27 November 2021

Jonathan Dalton

This brutal, muted serenity

16 November — 27 November 2021

EXPLORE Sydney Contemporary

Mehwish Iqbal, Nicholas Blowers & Hubert Pareroultja

10 November — 13 November 2021

Contact Us

to find out more about Disrupted.

12 - 14 Meagher Street Chippendale, NSW 2008
Opening Hours
Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm Saturday, 11am - 4pm COVID Safe Check-in: As part of the Nanda\Hobbs COVID safety plan, all visitors to the gallery must sign in via the Service NSW QR code.