Matty Smith


(l) “Insomnia III” (2013) 290mm x 1000mm
(r) “Lost Boy” (2012) 535mm x 730mm

Matty Smith’s Statement

Fleeting images portray the actuality of something but at the same time leave the imagination free to fill in gaps and build personal narratives. Sometimes those fleeting images are found inside my mind and sometimes in the world around me. Through the time spent weaving what was originally a momentary instance, I continue to explore this duality of what is represented physically as well as what might be implied.

“Neda: Bearing Witness,” is based on the images of Neda Agha-Soltan, as they flashed around the world following her death in the Tehran pro-democracy protests of 2009. Those images inspired me to want to try and hold her moment of triumph whilst knowing that who she really was would always remain a mystery – so I wove her in monochrome. This focus on weaving ambiguity through the capturing of a moment was developed further in “Lost Boy” which is woven in three layers. Finally, “Insomnia III” is the latest (perhaps final) piece in a series of tapestries through which I have been exploring instances of ethereal mental images.

Matty Smith, "Neda: Bearing Witness" (2009), 490mm x 275 mm (framed)
“Neda: Bearing Witness” (2009) 490mm x 275 mm (framed)

Matty Smith’s Biography

Although I have been informally involved in textile activities for over three decades, including embroidery, hand spinning, hand dyeing and weaving of cloth, I seriously engaged with tapestry weaving five years ago. Largely self taught, but with additional support through attending a few courses at West Dean College, I have found in tapestry weaving a fulfilling means to enable my creativity to find expression. For me tapestry has the unique characteristic of combining opportunistic spontaneity whilst developing in a very measured way over time.

Essentially I see the process of tapestry weaving as a form of textile painting which goes beyond the two-dimensional constraints of fine art, allowing texture, depth and ‘substance’ to be embedded in the finished piece to create a very distinctive ‘presence’. Whilst much of my work draws on observation of everyday life, I am increasingly extending my ideas into more conceptual pieces and three dimensional weaving as well as exploring collaboration with traditional artists through re-interpretation of their work.