Bewitched by the sea

Jordan Ogg introduces the work of artist Peter Matthews

'The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever,’ said the oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau. For the the English artist Peter Matthews this bewitching began at Lowestoft beach in Suffolk when he was about five years old, "I remember the worlds within the soft sand, the magic of the water moving up and down, the seagulls and the magnified sense of space."

From that early experience on the most UK’s most easterly point, to Matthews’ most recent in the far south, has emerged a body of work made by direct physical interaction with his subject matter. Only a few weeks ago he was working along the Cornish coast exploring some ideas, "throwing paintings into the low tide and letting them drift around on their own accord, to gradually get marked and re-conditioned in an active watery dialogue with the ocean."

"It is all about that direct approach", he says, "simply going in with a blank piece of paper nailed to a wooden board while clutching a few pens. There are countless hours spent just watching, listening, being with the forces of the sea and by extension with our infinite universe. I am actively pursuing that beautiful slippage point in the process of the work, where the object and subject meet and crossover, where the object of a drawing becomes the subject of the ocean and vice-versa."

Matthews has spent time working in Hawaii, an experience that he describes as profound, almost transcendental: "I am not sure how to define it, but it was a feeling of being surrounded by an enormous expanse of water ... that there was something on the island, of the island, something beyond our spectrum of being as we experience the world of the living in the here and now. I felt that there was a higher resonance, vibration and pitch with another world in Hawaii."

You can see more of Peter Matthew's work on his website