PENELOPE MATHESON

Matheson employs organic imagery usually (but not always) arranged in hierarchical structures to illustrate cycles of hunger, greed, desire and consumption. This is in part to play with the elaborate ornamental grammar of various decorative schools, but it also to echo her fascination with taxonomic keys – seeking to make flesh the tiered and logical progression of an idea. Her sculptures frequently have multiple elements with lugs that slot into the main form; this allows her to arrange my hierarchies at will, logically or illogically.

Matheson is also concerned with the nature of ceramics itself; examining the idea that commonplace pottery in the home may have a function beyond ornament and sentimentality. Everyday items on a mantelpiece can say a lot about their owners and she is intrigued by the almost fanatical devotion to collecting these objects many people have and she is interested in exploring how intimations of cultural identity, status and social aspiration are reflected in ceramic objects, and if so – does greed and acquisitiveness play a part in their collection?

Part of this current project is an investigation into a familiar pottery ornament; the long eared “SylvaC” bunny that was very popular in the 1940’s and 50’s. Matheson is working on a series of installations and sculptures featuring the abominably cute bunnies.

Since graduating from the MFAASP in 2015, Matheson has worked on research projects in Florence and at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop. She is currently one of the Artists in Residence at DJCAD.