Photo: Matthew Herring in York, Yorkshire

Matthew Herring


My work occupies a space between concrete poetry, abstract painting and landscape painting. My most recent work has involved taking single words, small groups of words, or short phrases and painting them, usually in white on neutral or coloured grounds, using fairly 'straight' typefaces. I feel that they draw more on the aesthetic of informational or warning signs (for example the names of lightship stations, which are painted in huge letters on the hulls of the vessels), and on an involvement with words themselves, than on a pop-art sensibility, or the work of Ed Ruscha. The idea of using words came from walking the Cleveland Way, in Yorkshire, when I wrote impressions and things that I saw, usually as single words, on index cards. I found that these cards often captured the experiences of the walk better than the sketches or photos that I made. What excited me was not the recording of the walk, or the walk as artwork as in the work of Long or Fulton, but the power of the words themselves. Separated from syntactical relations with other words (or larger units of text), words become tactile objects, with their own feel and sound. Even as disaggregated units, they obviously still have the power to refer and this opens the up to a range of expressive and metaphorical readings. Multiple meanings of words and puns also come into play; I think of the words I use as Found Objects. Words presented in this way also take on the muteness that painting is supposed to possess over against text. However, text and image are mutually invasive. read full statement

Location York, Yorkshire
Artforms / type of project Book Works, Drawing, Installation, Painting