The grace, purity and simplicity inherent in his work invites deep contemplation, and the rewards are complex. As an artisthe does not offer confirmation, reassurance or solutions.
Journeys and periods of work abroad led me to investigate new directions in my ceramics; returning to an early interest in figurative sculpture. Inspired by the simplified figurative forms of African tribal art and of early Mediterranean culture I hope that my contemporary interpretation still retains the sensitivity and sensuality of these ritual artefacts.
It is the active participation in the firing that first drew me to wood-firing. The surfaces of the work are imbued with a special vitality that influences the visual appearanceandtexture. The firing process is also not without its risk and I intentionally embrace the unpredictability with enthusiasm.
Contrary to many potters I find the process of woodfiring a relaxing and spiritual one, gently stoking the kiln to its final temperature of 1300 degrees centigrade. The deep rumble as wood ignites and flames rush through the chamber is a living process. During firing the ash circulates throughout the kiln snowing down onto the pieces, settling on surfaces and melting into a natural glaze wherever it lands. Each piece has its own distinctive visual record of its journey - the effect of flame on clay.
As the temperature reaches its peak soda is introduced into the kiln chamber, volatising the soda and reacting with the silica in the clay body to form lively and vital surfaces. Only small amounts of soda are used. I do not want or enjoy the hard, reflective surfaces normally associated with soda and salt glazing, rather the subtle flashing and tinges of highlights. Viewing these pieces you can only imagine the dancing of atmospheres as flames swirl and caress the surfaces.
At these high temperatures we are working with the true elemental forces of nature, instigating and conducting circumstances and harnessing their fierce and enduring beauty.
"The close parallels between Mattison's abstractions of the human body and countless examples of ancient and modern figural sculpture are not in the least troubling when one considers that Mattison's object is not to achieve an entirely unique style but rather to address something that is perceived as just exactly not unique. His work joins an ongoing conversation about the nature of human existence that no doubt stretches back to the dawn of consciousness in the prehistoric mists.
What he strives to add to that conversation is a personally intuitive understanding of the universal: something that arguably can only be manifested through barely perceptible nuances. His works are about not only a subtle, wordless communication between the figures that he represents but also, and just as importantly, the elusive metaphorical conversations that he holds with all figural artists, from the anonymous marble carvers of the ancient Cyclades to the celebrated masters of modernism."
Dr. Glenn R. Brown, Professor of Art History, KSU.