The sculptures of James Mathison
Bélgica Rodríguez

A vast classical devotion permeates the sculptural work of James Mathison. Deeply figurative, it suggests the transfiguration of the body into something akin to a formal discourse, full of intentionality and meanings associated with the most exalted of ancient sculpture; yet it proposes a visual reading that disowns the traditional volumetric concept and dedicates itself to the reconstruction of the body shape where the fragmented representation has its own story to tell within the realism and objective memory. An arm, a face, a head, a hand and even an entire body, form intelligible structures resulting from a spatial investigation.

In his own way, Mathison establishes a continuation of the history of the representative form, but - also in his own way - he breaks with that tradition to incorporate, from the formal perspective, elements he has discovered in his specific research into the surface and the sculptural mass, encoding textures, cracks, blows, writings and cavities as definitive parts in his gestural fascination with expressing emotions and perceptual feelings, thus transgressing sculptural limits and opting for lines of spatial action such as the repetition. In the series faces-heads - equal and different as they are - he analogically shows the certainty of the image presented to the viewer in its own skin, in the splendour of its very essence.

In his work Mathison has set himself the task of exploring the real and visual behaviour of the material (resin, bronze), as well as the recording of marks, imprints or tracks which, as he himself says, the passage of time has left on the material’s surface. We return to textures in an external sense and to the cracks as orifices leading to the inside of the piece. It is the mystery of the surface and the mystery of interiority, a play-off between the real and the imaginary along a same line.

Sculptor James Mathison continues the humanist tradition of sculpture, but on moving away from the academic he proposes a representational re-semantization of the figure that firmly inserts him in the contemporaneity of the 21st century.