Matthew Simpson

Matthew Simpson is a Yarraville-based artist with a hidden disability who lives and works on the sovereign, unceded lands of the Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. He has painted for many years, primarily exploring the visual element of line.

Matthew was born to Victorian parents in Brisbane and grew up in Tasmania. As a child, Matthew developed a passion for art, which continues with keen interest in creating, looking and talking about art. In his early years and still evident today, Matthew was influenced by the Surrealist art movement’s project of automated art that directly taps the subconscious. Early influences also include the expressionist, surrealist and abstract art of Paul Klee, Jackson Pollock and Ian Fairweather. Paul Klee famously said “A drawing is simply a line going for a walk” and “A line is a dot that went for a walk.” Later influences include Elisabeth Cummings, an Australian artist known for her large abstract paintings and printmaking, as well as Jadé Fadojutimi, a London-based painter of large exuberant abstract paintings.

Matthew Simpson left Tasmania to study fine art at the Victorian College of the Arts in the 1980s. He has remained in Melbourne since then, moving to the west in 1996, living in various suburbs before settling in Yarraville.

Matthew’s concerns in art started with personal interpretations of his surroundings. It was the intersection of representational approaches and abstraction that he felt to be the most exciting area of endeavour. From there he jumped into geometric art for the pragmatic reason that limited time to paint meant he could return to a canvas adding a few shapes per session. An interest in painting from doodles followed that resulted in lighter cartoonesque images often in broad areas of flat colours. Over time the cartoons distilled into the exclusive use of line.

Matthew’s work for the past few years has concentrated on the possibilities of form and pattern that emerge through a process of repeated addition of lines. The process is a mixture of random and deliberate additions of oil paint to the canvas, repeatedly adding layers of lines where he feels they should go and in colours that the evolving painting suggests. There is both an applied artistic direction of balancing natural rhythms out of the chaos of lines and the random application of marks in an automated fashion. Matthew’s intention is to reign in jarring disorder by intuitively following the rhythms of pleasing arrangements that arise during the act of painting. In addition to the major paintings, he also creates random computer-based interactives and works on paper.

In 2022, Matthew was a finalist in the Wyndham Art Prize and had a solo show at the Dax Centre. He also exhibited Stochastic Paintings at One Star Gallery.

In 2023, Matthew exhibited Aleatory Paintings at One Star Gallery and Striated Paintings at Schoolhouse Studios. He also exhibited in group shows, Recollection, a Wunder Gym at Wyndham, Art You OK, at The Annex in Wyndham in August, and Not the Same Ol’, at The Corner Studio, Footscray, in March.

In 2024, Matthew exhibited Chance Paintings at One Star Gallery in May. He has a forthcoming solo exhibition titled Time Paintings at No Vacancy Gallery in July. He was also in two group shows, A Common Sensorium, at Schoolhouse Studios in February, and Primo Red 3, a RedWest show at The Annex, Wyndham in January.

matthew simpson

Matthew Simpson by Ruben Bull-Milne
portrait by Ruben Bull-Milne 2021 in front of a detail of Christmas, 1999, oil on canvas, 1560 x 2515 mm
Matthew Simpson by Mark Gambino
portrait by Mark Gambino 2021 in front of Inner Edge, 2017, oil on canvas, 1065 x 1068 mm
Matthew Simpson by Mark Gambino
portrait in studio by Mark Gambino
Serir, 2022, oil on canvas, 1015 x 1015 mm exhibited in Stochastic Paintings
Berm, 2023, oil on canvas, 455 x 610 mm exhibited in Chance Paintings and Striated Paintings