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"...My paintings are about people, their relationship to each other-or lack of it-and to the world... My paintings are an attempt to embody what I know."
Painter Paul Matthews did not paint portraits, he painted what he called "peoplescapes" and landscapes. Matthews worked primarily with oil on canvas, often beginning with a wiping technique, so that the light of the gesso ground is visible. Stylistically, he had been described as a post-abstract expressionist. He was very interested in capturing the true nature of his subjects, encompassing both the good and evil that exists in us all. Matthews' paintings are narrative in nature; his groups of nudes, although often initially disturbing, draw the viewer into the story behind the image.
Matthews, who resided in Lambertville, attended Cooper Union Art School from 1957 to 1960, where he won the highest achievement prize. He taught at Gill/St. Bernard's School and at Parsons School of Design. Matthews' work has often encountered controversy. In 1968, three of his paintings were removed from the jury lounge in the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown because it was feared that they would be found controversial by their "captive" audience. Matthews exhibited locally at Phillips' Mill and Riverrun Gallery. He participated in group shows with local artists Charles Wells and George Anthonisen.
His work was shown in Doylestown, PA at the Michener Art Museum in the exhibition entitled Shifting Ground: Contemporary Landscapes by Paula Chamlee, Alan Goldstein and Paul Matthews (2008-2009).
Paul Matthews. Image courtesy of the artist. James A. Michener Art Museum.
Education and Training
Kenyon College, Ohio, 1951-1954
Cooper Union Art School, New York, 1957-1960
Teachers and Influences
Matthews was influenced by every good artist he has ever looked at, especially the work of Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Honore Daumier, Francisco Goya, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Marsden Hartley, and John Marin. On a personal level, his work was influenced by his mentors, including F.W. Goode, Sydney Delevante, Nicholas Marsicano, and Karl Stirner.
Connection to Bucks County
Paul Matthews lived in Erwinna, Bucks County for seventeen years and then resided in Lambertville, New Jersey. He exhibited locally at Phillips' Mill, Coryell Gallery, Riverrun Gallery, and the Bucks County Arts Council. He was a founding member of Artsbridge.
Colleagues and Affiliations
George Anthonisen, Charles Wells, Robert Ranieri, Karl Stirner, Pat Martin, Barry Snyder, Cheryl Raywood
Artsbridge, Founding Member, Lambertville, New Jersey
Major Solo Exhibitions
Zabriskie Gallery, New York City, 1964, 1966
Stover Mill, Erwinna, Pennsylvania, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984
Nexus Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1976
Viridian Gallery, New York City, 1977
Albany Junior College, Albany, New York, 1977
Gill/St. Bernard's School, Bernardsville, New Jersey, 1978
Adriondack Center Museum, Elizabethtown, New York, 1978, 1986
Swanson Gallery, High Bridge, New Jersey, 1980
Penn State University College Park, State College, Pennsylvania, 1981
Karl Stirner Gallery, Easton, Pennsylvania, 1984
Atea Ring Gallery, Essex, New York, 1990, 1991, 1993
Riverrun Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey, 1994
Major Group Exhibitions
Park-Bernet, New York City, New York, 1964
Zabriske Gallery, New York City, New York, 1965
Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1968
SUNY at Albany, Albany, New York, 1974
Hunterdon Art Center, Clinton, New Jersey, 1974, 1975, 1987
Nexus Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1976, 1983
Viridian Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1976-1977
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, New York, 1977
Lake Placid School of Art, Lake Placid, New York, 1978
Phillips' Mill Annual Art Exhibition, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1977-1980, 1982-1986, 1988
Coryell Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey, 1983-1989, 1991
Bucks County Art Center, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1985
Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Lake Placid, New York, 1987, 1990
Easton Arts Conservatory, Easton, Pennsylvania, 1987
The Gallery at the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton, Pennsylvania, 1991, 1993
Genest Gallery, Lambertville, Pennsylvania, 1991
TAWA at Ellerslie, Trenton, New Jersey, 1993
Shifting Ground: Contemporary Landscapes by Paula Chamlee, Alan Goldstein and Paul Matthews, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA, 2008-2009
Highest Achievement Prize, Cooper Union, New York, 1960
Birkenhead Gallery, Liverpool, England
Life On A String, shown at the Chicago Film Festival, 1973