Matthew Stradling

Matthew Stradling is represented in many art collections in Europe ,America, the Far and Middle East . He is one of the most accomplished painters of the male nude in Britain today. Hailing from Hertfordshire in south-east England, Matthew now works from his studio in North London. His work has been exhibited internationally and he has had eleven solo exhibitions in London and Paris. In 2001 he was selected by Sothebys to represent Britain in the 2001-2 Young Artist International Touring Exhibition and his portrait of his mother was selected for the BP Portrait Award Exhibition. In 1997 Matthew’s work was included in the exhibition ‘Likeness - Reflecting Sexuality’ at Manchester City Art Galleries, an overview of contemporary artists whose work deals with issues around sexuality. Matthew was awarded a British Academy Scholarship to study for a Masters Degree in Fine Art at the University of Reading and went on to win the Boise Travelling Scholarship in 1990 , enabling him to continue his studies in Rome and Madrid. Whilst at St. Martin’s School of Art, studying for an Honours Degree in Fine Art during the early 1980’s Matthew was introduced to the painting techniques of the Old Masters , whose themes and vision continue to inspire him. He received First Class Honours in 1985.

Much of Matthew’s work celebrates the sensuality of the human form - figures often luxuriating, nude, against lush decorative backgounds or sometimes frozen, naked, into empty fields of muted colour.The textures of flesh are captured with the use of layers of delicate colour and the sensitive rendering of light. The paintings often seduce the viewer with a dream-like flow of imagery, a careful attention to detail and an intense use of colour. However they can also challenge us with their serious intent, questioning ideas of sexuality, desire, fear, mortality, and loss.

Although much of Matthew’s work depicts fantasies of wealth and splendour, it is not the luxury of a materialistic world that is being celebrated, rather the wealth of the imagination, where the mind is free to gather images from different eras, continents and mythologies, creating visions of beauty that seem to be haunted by their own perfection. In this way, Matthew’s paintings convey a certain melancholic yearning for lost eras and a child-like sense of wonder, underlaid with a knowing sense of humour.