Alex Mathew

Alex Mathew was born in Trivandrum in 1957. He studied till a national diploma in sculpture at the College of Fine Arts, Trivandrum obtained in 1981 during a period of political activism and general dissatisfaction. His post diploma years at M.S. University, Baroda (1982-84) brought figures carved with a fight roughness from tree ~ which convey a sense of archaic, physical and emotional unity of people with the organic and animal world. It is a condition of gradual emergence or fluidity seen in the slow, turning rhythms which enclose figures in the material suggesting strong feelings withheld partly. The tactile yet contains the spiritual too. Personal connotation are guessed but not revealed in the images from the borderline of adolescence and adulthood. With love, intimacy as well as gently humor and affirmation the artist delves into moments of crazy joys, fascinations, innocence, awkward grace and budding eroticism, also grief. A scholarship at the Hoch Schule fur Bildene Kunset Braunscheig, West Germany (1986-87) and contact with the expressionist trends, both older and contemporary, brought to the surface and intensified the dormant earlier tone visible now in the vigorous, empathically coarse chiseling and colour staining, the solidity of the wood resisting and being stimulated by the artist who marks his effort on the material. The work became more metaphoric in the evocation of human aspirations and fluctuating but tightly bound states or life processes as the wood imbibes the sense of turbulent yet sheltering water, soil rising to the air and the sun. In a dramaticism of his own Mathew's figures- sometimes Biblical, sometimes from concrete reality but generalized or from landscape and vegetation - enact an instinctual encounter with the raw wood, and the elements only partly freeing themselves from its matter. After the mid-'90s experiments with fiberglass which, apart from the usual themes of pan-natural unity and sensual desire, inclined somewhat to conceptual solutions, Mathew returned to the archetypal link with the tree as sustainer of basic forces and of the imagination and human spirit. He equates it with natural resourcefulness and nourishing motherhood as well as with progression of human labour and mind symbolically represented in its identification with Jacob's ladder.

Having worked in Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Mandya and Mysore, he settled in Baroda teaching sculpture at M.S. University since 1994. His exhibitions include one at Chemould, Bombay 1993, Seven, Young Sculptors, New Delhi 1985, Questions and Dialogues, Baroda 1986, Alekhaya Darshan, Geneva 1987, Timeless Art, Bombay 1989, Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bangalore 1990, Song of the Dark Times, CIC, New Delhi, Jehangir Art Gallery and Chemould, Bombay 1991, Sparrow, Bombay 1992, Deutsche Bank Collection, Bombay 1994, 100 years of Contemporary Indian Art, NGMA, New Delhi 1994, Recent Trends in Contemporary Indian Art Vadehra Gallery, New Delhi 1995.

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Alex Mathew
Boy and Horse
Wood carving & oil color
1982-84

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Alex Mathew
Martyr's Dream
Fiber Glass & Acrylic color
1993