Artist in Residence

Joan Matthews

How many living artists can say they went to Jackson Pollock's house for a party? Or that they were friends with Willem de Kooning?

Joan Mathews graduated from Indiana University in 1952 with a Fine Arts degree. She moved straight ti New York. Still in her early twenties, she fell in with a hip art scene there. At places like the Cedar Bar on University Place, Joan men abstract expressionists, writers, the beats... In 1957 she joined the March Gallery which was across the street from de Kooning's studio. In 1959 she married a sculptor who also built de Koonin's stretchers. He won a Guggenheim fellowship on which they went to Europe for a year. Back in the U.S. They would ride their Italian motor scooter from New York to Montuak, ferry to Block Island, then to Rhode Island and up the Cape to Provincetown where they would stay in a guest house for five dollars a night. Joan had her first solo show in New York in 1960. She taught art at Pratt Institute and at the Museum of Modern Art in the 1960's.

Joan Matthews was born in Michigan on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929. She has shown her art in eleven countries, and has had eleven solo shows and thirty five group shows. She has lived and worked in Florida, Michigan, Indiana, California, Texas, and even Mexico for six years, but she just kept returning to New York.

As the sixties heated up Joan was drawn into the political struggles of the anti-war, women's and black liberation movements, both as an activist and an artist. She was also drawn to the avant garde art scene called Fluxus. In 1964 she bought the Fluxus loft on Canal Street from the movement's founder George Maciunas for just five hundred dollars and lived there for two year. Through Fluxus she met Yoko Ono and participated in some of Yoko's performance pieces.

Since 1991 Joan has lived in Albany, NY and continues to make art. She calls her art “gritty”.

Joan Mathews is an important American artist and a living link to significant social and art history. Her art can be seen and purchased at Schenectady's Moon and River cafe and Arthur's Market.

My paintings begin in different ways but I try to do it unconsciously... I usually begin with a free drawing … sometimes my eyes averted. I don't have a plan … except to get free. I try to be loose and free and forget about 'professionalism' I'm happiest when i'm surprised by something … that I hadn't willed ...”

-Joan Mathews