Abstract painting has become Christopher Mathie’s chosen medium, and his latest collection “Coastal Resonance,” reflects his time near Pacific Northwest waters.
Living on the waterfront of the Key Peninsula, as well as other areas of the Pacific Northwest, inspired the collection, he said. He now resides in Southworth.
Mathie’s powerful, quick brush strokes fill the canvas with layers of paint. He said he tries to capture the point at which land meets sea in his abstract pieces.
“Each layer may only take a couple of hours, but many subsequent layers, sometimes transparent, go on top allowing previous layers to show through like memories,” he said.
His work is emotional, he said, and he feels filled with intense energy as he works.
“It’s like a flood of emotion must travel through my body and hit the canvas with force to exude the immensity of my emotional experience.”
By touching the pieces of rock, seashells, coral, kelp, bones and barnacles he said he connects with the sea in preparation for his work, he said.
“I dream about being a humpback whale and diving into the unknown, disappearing, really from the harshness that is sometimes the human experience,” he said. “Hearing the crashing waves feels reassuring. If the water continues to crash, every few seconds, things really do go on. Harsh realities eventually smooth into calm waters. ‘Coastal Resonance,’ for me, is life.”
Cape Flattery, Cannon Beach in Oregon and Laguna Beach in California are a few of the places Mathie spends his time.
“You could say these seascapes are composites of those places,” he said.
Though he began as a potter, he completely switched from pottery to painting more than a year ago, he said. He said he enjoys painting because he wants to capture energetic movement and emotion.
“Painting fits my personality really well,” he said.
He allows a collection to evolve. Once he has several pieces, he looks for continuity between them and begins to paint again, he said, and paints several pieces at once.
Leaving interpretation to the viewer is his intention. Mathie said he wants each person to bring their own experiences to the canvas as they read his work.
His first customer who is a second generation collector, Ben Bradley of University Place, said he grew up with Mathie pieces in his home.
“My mom worked at the university and she purchased pieces,” Bradley said. “I feel his work embodies what the Northwest is.”
A small collection is on display at Key Peninsula Real Estate through Oct. 13, and he is the only contemporary artist featured at the Gig Harbor History Museum. His “Coastal Resonance” collection is showing at Mavi Contemporary Gallery on 6th Avenue in Tacoma through Oct. 31.
Mathie has an art degree from the University of Puget Sound and his works hang in major U.S. galleries in Washington, New York, California, and Oregon.
For more information visit mathiepottery.com.