Caia Matheson is an award-winning contemporary oil painter based in East Sussex, UK. She was born in Johannesburg and educated in Tokyo and London. Matheson has exhibited widely in the UK as well as internationally and has been shortlisted for numerous awards, including winning Brighton Artist of the Year in 2004. Matheson painted Europe’s first Rainbow Pedestrian Crossing Brighton in 2014, and in 2013 her work was selected by author Neil Gaiman for the book A Calendar of Tales.
Matheson is inspired by wabi sabi, or the beauty of imperfection.
For Matheson, painting is a very physical process. She loves to mix paint mediums and experiment with the effects. This, for her, can be the most exciting part of the creative process. Her mediums are oils – tubes of oil paint, oil bars, oil pastels and mixtures of oil paints and dyes. She enjoys the texture consistency and smell of them. Matheson paints with her hands and washing-up sponges onto canvases laid flat on the floor, building and scratching off layers of oil paint to create a world within worlds.
The layers are designed in a way to expose different subjects of the composition. These subjects are buried in the dark and light spaces and come out and disappear as the light changes presenting different aspects depending on shifting light conditions and mood.
" My work is about words and verse from all sources such as radio plays audio books stories song lyrics and poetry. I get such great pictures from words and translate them into my work as a visual narrative.
I begin painting with a specific colour that I have in my mind’s eye. I then introduce other colours and begin to build layers on the canvas. These layers are then scratched off and layered over again like a palimpsest literally meaning ‘scraped clean and used again’. I love the idea of previous markings that are not visible but are still an inherent part of the composition.
I consider each successive layer a generation to populate or depopulate the canvas as needed and create my own world as I go.
I like to create a world within worlds.
As a kid I used to be fascinated by the Lowly worm in the Richard Scarry books. I loved scouring each page to seek out that worm and when I found it I would feel most content like I had discovered a piece of secret truth that would uncover all the answers to my questions about the universe. There are some Lowly worms in my abstracts albeit in symbolic form."