“ The work of Thelma Mathias is in that well-worked vein of modernism that seeks to ally words with images into something considerably more meaningful than mere illustration. She describes her artistic role as a matter of process, the use of material as language. Effectively, in many of her recent works, Mathias uses the written word as a particular mode of entry into the realms of visual poetry . . . with narrative threads . . . “
Jan Adlmann, curator, artist
“ . . . for Mathias is possessed by a mysterious sense of lived experience through ideas implies something else. Experience + ideas = another reality. The impulse gives significance to the work. It involves a transformation of the ways ideas are situated when they are caught in material time . . . the predictable, routine aspects of living require a curiosity, an attentiveness, a certain definitive lightness, a quality of the unseen, that happens to contain an invisible structure that is less than evident in the world of overt objects. She is meandering away from patriarchal certainties into through another consciousness. Yet, she performs her tasks without losing sight of the penumbra of intimate materiality and the dream world. The work can be seen or read as a diary of ideas in the unseen places of the mind—these places may incite a rumbling that disturbs and awakens. In essence, the art does what art is supposed to do—it makes us feel more alive. “
Robert C. Morgan, curator, professor, artist
A quirky, curiously engaging activity, this art-making. The works can be room-sized installations or tweezers picking up grains of rice—they are content laden with the material used previously for another purpose with traces left behind of their former incantation. So that like drawing with thread, the embroidery works on vintage dishtowels stained with kitchen use while privy to familial interactions reflect the re-use and transformation of ideas are of continual, conceptual interest. The recent work of mixed media on metal plates transfers much of the idea in the more sculptural format that has been the focus over the years, into more a pictorial one. Fantasy, non-linear content, perhaps more than one narrative, historical and cultural references find their way to produce mostly black and white imagery. The works are not what they seem. A narrative runs through, sometimes questioning mostly making socio-political statements, cultural, gender-focused and too intense to directly confront.
The humor, the chatter in my head, the replay of snippets of conversation. The voices that won't be stilled, the twisted truths in old children's books, find their way into the work.
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