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Live Art Critique: Ethan Matthews

Ethan Matthews

graphite and water-soluble graphite
24″ x 18″


Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Clara Lieu
Art Prof & Partner

Artist Statement

“I live in Virginia and I am a senior in high school. Art has always been a part of my life, but so have math and science. My interest in these academic subjects has run parallel to my development as an artist, and by studying Architecture in the future, I will be able to combine many different disciplines while not sacrificing being creative. I approach many projects in a similarly methodical and logical way, whilst not abandoning the spontaneity of creativity.

This piece, ‘Monument,’ began in 10th grade as a project about foreshortening in my high school art class. My friend and I spent over an hour trying to take a dramatic foreshortened photo for this large piece that would emphasize the intricate forms of clothing and the human body. By taking a photo of myself doing a quad stretch from below, the image seemed monumental, thus the title of the piece.

One of the main ways I manipulated the water-soluble graphite was by first applying it to a scrap piece of paper and using a wet paint brush on that mark to apply more controlled strokes of pigment onto the piece, similarly to watercolor, a medium I am much more familiar with. After leaving this piece unfinished for almost two years, I continued again this year, applying new techniques to form a full and complete image that embodies the sweatshirt, jeans, shoe, and my hand realistically while still creating a unique form and composition.”

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Graphite Drawing, Ethan Matthews

Artists mentioned in the critique

Andrea Mantegna’s painting “Dead Christ,” Jacopo da Pontormo, Hans Bellmer, and Paul Cadmus, Lucien Freud, and the French Surrealist Artists.

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