I grew up on

the West Coast,

paradise for boys.

Miles of untracked hills and canyons to conquer,

otherworldly kelp forests with fish to hunt,

adventures and tall tales.

 

My dad came straight out of WWII & legendary battles in the Pacific.

My mom gave to life a magic quality,

an expectancy that “reality” would step aside whenever you needed.

 

From the start I was an explorer.

I chose to make things with my hands,

first inventing with metal, ceramics and wood.

 

Then in 1973, glass fully captured my attention.

I skipped college and spent the next ten years mastering line and color sense.

 

By 1984, I was looking for a more direct way to make pictures.

Connecting with the vibrancy of watercolor,

I began to paint in earnest.

 

But again by 1993 I grew restless with the limitations of my medium.

I needed something that I could wrestle with

physically – a tougher material.

I began developing my own way of working with oils:

I paint on wood panels that I carve with mallet and chisels.

The physicality of this new work is important to me,

both in the making of it and the finished piece.

The materials and sculptural qualities of the artwork itself

are as vital as the images portrayed.

Ken Mattson 2016

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