Michael Matthews is a South African artist. He is the founder member of the DASART and AM.t.t. art groups. A group of artists that aim to express their sensibilities through physicality and prosthetic devices.


VIEW OF THE STUDIO.

RECENT ARTWORKS

ANAMNESIS SERIES.
MEDIUM: ACRYLIC BASE, OIL ON CANVAS.

The Anamnesis is a series about remembering or recalling our recent past. The recent past of South Africa and in the broader sense of South African culture. The Anamnesis series uses metaphor to explore the idea that women perpetuate the atrocities of humanity. Women are used as a symbol of the power of matriarchy and the main transmitter of cultural values. The works attempt to recall stereo types in a South African recent history. The women have been presented as a ‘Venus’ type figures; a symbol of fertility and fecundity. At the same time the women’s sexual organs, that are stylized, are displayed as weapons. The women are aggressive and independent, in no way is she going to be seen as a victim. She is taking responsibility for her role in history and in culture.

All the women are depicted as the same with only one item identifying their cultural group. The hat is used to symbolise the cultural group of the woman – the ‘kappie’ for Boer, the ‘ischolo’ for Zulu and the head veil, hijab, Berka or Niqab for Muslim, Catholic and Judeo-Christian women. The image of the woman in ‘Anamnesis I _III’ is juxtaposed with a metaphor for/of their culture.



TITLE: ANAMNESISVOLKSHERTALL.
MEDIUM: ACRYLIC, OIL ON CANVAS.
DATE: 2016.
SIZE: 2800 X 4290 mm.
(Three panels each 2800 x 1430 mm)
Price: $5475.79
YouTube Video: Michael Matthews Anamnesis Volkshertaal – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTQfPMvkT6I



TITLE: ANAMNESISVOLKSWERK.
MEDIUM: ACRYLIC BASE, OIL ON CANVAS.
DATE: 2012.
SIZE: 2800 X 2860 mm.
(Two panels each 2800 x 1430 mm)
Price: $3650.53

In ‘Anamnesis – Volkswerk’ the Boer woman is juxtaposed with a cesspool of snakes that have been embroidered into a cloth. The snake literally seen as a symbol of evil as found in the biblical story of the Garden of Eden with Eve as the temptress of man. In this work, she sews the snake into a pattern of her design, an emblem, revealing her power. Unlike historical Venus’s in this work she ignores the viewer and gazes at the fruit of her labour in a longing way.



TITLE: ANAMNESIS II.
MEDIUM: ACRYLIC BASE, OIL ON CANVAS.
DATE: 2012.
SIZE: 2800 X 4290 mm.
(Three panels each 2800 x 1430 mm)
Price: $5475.79

In ‘Anamnesis II’ the Zulu woman is juxtaposed with a crocodile that has a threaded surface that typifies beadwork and a detail of her hand. The crocodile is an ancient creature that seemingly reflects a subconscious state and is often considered by many cultures to be the physical manifestation of an ancestor. The hardened protective skin seems to have a beaded finish in its regular repetitious shapes and smooth surface. Beadwork is traditionally considered to be women’s work and an ‘isicabha’ (apron) of sewn beads is worm protectively in front of the genitals in many ceremonies – such as at the wedding ceremony. In this work the woman is possibly involved in a ceremony as she dances a rhythmic dance which is echoed by the serpentine movement of the crocodile.



TITLE: ANAMNESISSLEGSVOLK.
MEDIUM: ACRYLIC BASE, OIL ON CANVAS.
DATE: 2012.
SIZE: 2800 X 4290 mm.
(Three panels each 2800 x 1430 mm)
Price: $5475.79

In ‘Anamnesis – Slegsvolk’ the Muslim or Judeo-Christian woman is juxtaposed with a shark and an open hand. The woman confronts the viewer in a challenging way – front on. The open hand seemly has vagina stigmata on it, or a henna design, suggestive of a third eye. Note that the tips of the fingers are dipped in gold, as with the teeth and jihab. The shark, also cunt-like is volumetrically contrary to the fecund pregnant woman. A void verses a solid. Aggressive and threatening seemingly the mouth of death rather than of birth. The jihab is interesting in itself in that is seen on the one hand as suppressing women’s identity whereas many people see it as liberating women removing them from been objectification.



TITLE: ANAMNESISVOLKSHEID.
MEDIUM: ACRYLIC BASE, OIL ON CANVAS.
DATE: 2013.
SIZE: 2800 X 2860 mm.
(Two panels each 2800 x 1430 mm)
Price: $3650.53
YouTube Video: Michael Matthews Anamnesis Volksheid – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76s4HYwklI8



TITLE: ANAMNESISVOLKSPELE.
MEDIUM: ACRYLIC BASE, OIL ON CANVAS.
DATE: 2013.
SIZE: 2800 X 4290 mm.
(Three panels each 2800 x 1430 mm)
Price: $5475.79
YouTube Video: Michael Matthews: Anamnesis-Volkspele – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZrBgfXziOA



TITLE: ANAMNESISVOLKSTROT.
MEDIUM: ACRYLIC BASE, OIL ON CANVAS.
DATE: 2013.
SIZE: 2800 X 4433 mm.
(Four panels each 2800 x 1430 mm)
Price: $7301.05
YouTube Video: Michael Matthews: Anamnisis – Volkstrot – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ8nGYDSeZY



TITLE: ANAMNESISVOLKSTAAL.
MEDIUM: ACRYLIC BASE, OIL ON CANVAS.
DATE: 2015.
SIZE: 2800 X 4433 mm.
(Four panels each 2800 x 1430 mm)
Price: $7301.05
YouTube Video: Michael Matthews Volkstaal – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIwmJaRCoqg


For more detailed information please visit the below web sites:

MICHAEL MATTHEWS: http://michaelmatthews.withtank.com/

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REVIEWS OF ARTWORKS

Anamnesis – VOLKS SERIES

“’Anamnesis’ is a series about remembering or recalling our recent past. The recent past of South Africa and in the broader sense of South African culture. The ‘Anamnesis’ series uses metaphor to explore the idea that women perpetuate the atrocities of humanity. Women are used as a symbol of the power of matriarchy and the main transmitter of cultural values”

According to the artist, women are just as guilty in perpetuating violence within their community as the men are of committing these acts – the power of matriarchy and choice being their main tools, tools that are used to mould and maintain cultural values in the fight for survival of the fittest. A power that transforms victim into warrior.

The ‘Anamnesis’ series explores this concept within various cultural groups of South Africa, each group being identified by a traditional hat. Each image/group is then “juxtaposed with a metaphor for/of their culture”.

Anamnesis I, II and III’: the question that immediately comes to mind is ‘what has the artist based his juxtaposed metaphors on?’ Are the snake, the crocodile and the shark truly indicative of these cultures? Can such generalizations hold value? After further contemplation it suddenly becomes apparent that there are possibly two levels of commentary going on here: The concept that women are guilty of perpetuating violence within their community and also how these perpetuation’s have affected the artist on a personal level. The 3 women of Anamnesis: The evil temptress – gazing upon her manipulated emblem of embroidered cesspool-ish snakes, while a snake slithers out from between her thighs. The ceremonial dancer – moving about in a subconscious (possible wedding) trans-dance – her rhythm echoed in the serpentine movement of the crocodile. Interesting is the inclusion of ‘detail of her hand’ – thereby individualizing her. The aggressive challenger– boldly facing the viewer head on from behind a gold mask, gold teeth and gold fingertips which possibly indicate the transient nature of the hidden – void verses solid, death verses birth? Again we see a hand but this time with a vaginal ‘weapon’ depicted as a third eye in the palm.

The next four pieces appear to tell a story of battle between cultures and women. In ‘Anamnesis – Volksheid’ a Zulu woman faces a Boer woman head on, possibly ready for battle as indicated by the pointed weapon. The Boer does not confront the Zulu but glances over at her. In the far right panel the coloured woman is standing alone, possibly gearing up for battle as depicted by the boldly displayed sexual organs, weapon and symbolic head gear. In ‘Anamnesis – Volkspele’ the Boer woman is now engaging in the struggle, staking claim to what she sees as hers – the ‘gold pieces’. The Zulu woman appears to have lost sight of the goal and seems to be appealing to the viewer for assistance. In ‘Anamnesis – Volkstrot’ the viewer is witness to a ritual or celebratory dance. In context of the series the viewer can ask if the Boer women have claimed the gold pieces and are now reveling in their victory. Could these depictions be a comment on a period of South African history or is there more to the story than initially meets the eye?

Dianne Michael
Dianne lives and works in Canada, Montreal.