In Newcastle we are exhibiting the highly personal, figurative works of Matilda Sutton.
She has made a series of new works that continue her explorations into "How we define gender and species … I turn to the boundaries of ‘body’ and ‘self’, asking how we conceive of our wholeness, or lack thereof, and negotiate our edges.” Her work draws on the female figure which often appears as a hybrid between humans and animals, and she works across many media including, drawing, painting and fabrics.
Her work recalls medieval storytelling and warnings that might be told to children to control their behaviours. She is interested in the human cultural narratives around washing, clothing and cosmetics, historically seen as ‘female’ in the arts and her startling take on them disrupts traditional understandings of female agency. “I am considering the gaps between the cultural conception of the human body as whole; singular and discrete, with the reality of it as a shifting, unbounded and porous organism.”
The central woman in Disassembled 2023, a new embroidery on a cotton cloth banner, sees what seems to be a very hairy woman (the black hair on her arms, legs and face are stitched in) whose internal organs are also visible. Is she frightened or frightening, it is hard to tell but she stares back at the viewer possessed with her own sense of being. Sutton is “Looking at ideas of purity, ritual … and philosophies of the body, drawing out narrative and visual references and intersecting these with personal experience and memories of physicality, religion, gender and sexuality and involving drawing as an alchemical tool in a search for new meanings.”
Sutton will also be showing a body of larger scale paintings at the Vane Gallery, Gateshead (opening 12th July) in partnership with the Clifford Chance’s Pride exhibition. The work in both venues should be seen as a whole, a new project and a new opportunity for LGBTQ+ artists in the Newcastle area.
Dr Michael Petry
Artist, author and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) London
About the artist
Matilda Sutton is an artist and facilitator based in Newcastle upon Tyne, working between paint, drawing, sculpture and textiles. Since graduating from Newcastle University in 2019, she has participated in the NewBridge Project Collective Studio programme and has exhibited at galleries such as Turner Contemporary, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Quench gallery (Margate) and Vane (Gateshead).
Matilda draws from posthumanist and feminist philosophies, myth, literary and historical narratives, but also from being a creature. Her inquiry is into how we categorise our world and ourselves. Complicating the boundaries of what our culture tells us about who and what we are. The questioning of binary systems and conceptual dualisms is central to her practice which takes ‘gender’ and ‘species' in its hands to prod and poke them.