Paperworks are text-based artworks, either constructions made from layers of handmade paper, or paintings on handmade paper, sometimes with paper layers added, exploring the way the light shows through the layers like sunlight through leaves. I’m particularly interested in the physical qualities of the paper, and relating these characteristics to the text, as in my artist’s books. As when I’m working with clay, the paper is never an inert base, always a fertile ground.

Element (text by Adrienne Rich)

Element is made from heavy handmade cotton-rag paper with fine handmade (Khadi) layers on top, with the text (from a poem by Adrienne Rich) lettered in ink with a driftwood pen. (Signed one-off.  70cm high x 50cm wide.  For sale £350 framed.)

Prism by Liz Mathews (text by Winifred Nicholson)

Prism sets a beautiful text by Winifred Nicholson in a kind of lyrical rainbow arched across the sheet of paper, lettered with a wooden peg pen. (Signed one-off. 50cm x 70cm. £550 framed)

There goes the river (text by Alice Oswald)

There goes the river is another construction; here Alice Oswald’s beautiful text (from her long poem Dart) is set along a watercolour line mapping the River Dart with a torn paper dart reflecting the shape. The ragged riverbanks are echoed in the deckle edged handmade paper sheet, and the torn edges of the paper layers. (Signed one-off. 70cm high x 50cm wide.  For sale £350 framed.)

Roughened water (detail) text by Virginia Woolf

This is a detail from Roughened water, with a text from Virginia Woolf that I find perennially inspiring. The text is lettered with a wooden peg pen in blue and seagreen inks abutting the inlaid line of the Thames, shifted to flow north to south in a disorienting reference to the text. (Signed one-off. 73cm x 50cm approx. £400 framed)

Skep (text by Diodoras Zonas translated by Alistair Elliot)

Skep weaves a text from the Greek Anthology into the shape of a wicker bee-hive or skep, the text lettered in a tawny gold with a wooden peg pen and a stick, as though it’s made of honey-soaked plaited wicker rather than letters. (Signed one-off. 70cm x 50cm approx. £750 framed)

Ice river is a paper construction that I made during the snowy weather, from layers of handmade papers, and watercolours.  The text (by Joni Mitchell) is scratched and painted on to the icy river line.

(Signed one-off. 70cm wide x 40cm high. For sale £300.)

After the eclipse by Liz Mathews (text by Virginia Woolf)

After the eclipse again combines layers of paper with the text; the line of the Thames is torn through the sheet, with a watery blue paper inlaid, and an earthy brown Nepalese paper overlaid; the setting of the text reflects the line of the river. This inscription is by Virginia Woolf, from The Waves. (Signed one-off. 70cm x 40cm. £350 framed. Now sold.)

Light through by Liz Mathews (text by Virginia Woolf)

This is Light through, with text again by Virginia Woolf. It’s made from diaphanous layers of handmade papers with the text brushed on in watercolours – some solid, some shifting. (Signed one-off. 70cm high x 50cm wide.  £500 framed)

Tree, river, river, tree is made from the four quarters torn from one sheet of handmade paper, with the image of the winter tree mirrored in shifting manifestations explored by the text, which is my own. (Signed one-off. Now sold.)

Hieroglyphs sets a text from Valentine Ackland’s poem Journey from Winter on strips of handmade cotton-rag paper that give some reference to the signposts missing from the text. It’s lettered in charcoal and chalk. (Signed one-off; 57cm x 84cm; for sale £500 framed in beech.)

Earthlight on the moon is a paper construction which sets two texts, one by Dorothy Wordsworth (Silver How) and one by Geoffrey Grigson (‘A faint light on darkness’); the texts are lettered with a driftwood pen on layers of handmade paper. (Signed one-off; 70cm x 50cm; for sale £475 framed in beech. Now sold.)

Prospect of happiness by Liz Mathews (text by Frances Bingham)

The prospect of happiness sets a beautiful text by Frances Bingham from her book The Principle of Camouflage along the line of the Thames, painted with a single brushstroke pulling the watercolour along with the tide. The text is lettered with a driftwood pen and a wooden peg pen. (Signed one-off. 70cm x 50cm. £440 framed. Now sold)

Singing the Year

I’ve been working on a group of paperworks for my new Singing the Year collection; I’ll be showing some of them in detail in my regular Work in focus posts and I’ll add some here, too. John Clare’s poetry has always been a very fertile source for me, and it has recently inspired a group of four lettered paintings, one for each season: The quartet is called All the year: Clare’s seasons, and the individual seasons identify themselves:

Spring from All the Year by Liz Mathews (text by John Clare)

Summer from All the year by Liz Mathews (text by John Clare)

Autumn from All the year by Liz Mathews (text by John Clare)

Winter from All the year by Liz Mathews (text by John Clare)

The text is lettered with driftwood and peg pens, and the sequence works best hung in a horizontal row. (Signed one-offs. Each painting 32cm x 42cm approx. For sale £250 each framed, or £800 for the quartet.)

Work available for purchase changes regularly, and I always have a good collection of new and archive work in different sizes ready to buy from the studio. These pages show a few examples, but please get in touch if you’d like details of what’s available now.

Waters all fused silver sets a text is by Coleridge evoking the moonlit river. (Signed one-off, 42cm x 30cm, £180 framed)

A vessel burning blue lights is a homage to Turner’s painting with a ravishing title by him – painted in a very un-Turner-like technique. (Signed one-off, 42cm x 30cm. Now sold.)

To buy or enquire about any work, please click on contact details.

All photos copyright Liz Mathews.

Permission is needed for any use of these images.

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