Rosalie Matchett


Artist’s Statement 2018

Like many before me, as a newcomer to the West Coast, I have been inspired by what was for me new flora and fauna, the forests and changing seasons. After moving to Salt Spring one of the first things I did was to sit out in the forest doing plein air studies of the scenes around me. Nevertheless I put those sketches aside to get on with other work in the studio. Finally one day last summer when I noticed a shallow pond in the forest reflecting an unusual orange light from the mud beneath I was mesmerized and decided it was time to revisit those early sketches.

These forest landscapes are the result. They came about from experimenting with two different techniques; carved out clean lines and shapes contrasted with a more atmospheric soft blend of the wax medium. My aim was to create images that are representational yet self-referential to the construction of the painting through these opposing techniques.

‘Artist Statement 2015

I became a hobby beekeeper shortly after I began working in encaustic. My thought was that I would be able to collect wax for my paintings. I soon realized I needed a lot more wax than my few hives could produce. Nevertheless I quickly learned to love having honey bees in our garden and became more and more fascinated by the life cycle of this social insect. I knew eventually I would do a series of paintings on bees and beekeeping. I didn’t know what it would look like though until I started working on it this past year.

I wanted to show the intensity and pulsing life force of a hive. A hive, made up of thousands of bees, acts like one organism. Each hive has its own character. Some are lazier than others, even under the same conditions. The hive communicates to its various parts through dance, taste, smell and touch. As with so much in life the more I have learned about bees the more mysterious and wonderful they become.


Rosalie Matchett grew up in Toronto. She received her BFA in studio art from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1981. She went on to complete a diploma in film production at the London International Film School with a distinction in script writing and continued living in England for the next 17 years, working in film and raising two children. She returned to Canada in 2001 and settled on Salt Spring in 2012. Rosalie’s work has won numerous awards and has been exhibited in BC and Ontario.

Whalebones, Blubber and other Relics of First Oil, April 4-27, 2014

Whalebones, Blubber and other Relics of First Oil

In the early 17th century when European explorers first came across Bowhead whales around the arctic islands of Svalbard they were so thick in the bays that the ships could hardly maneuver around them. Now the eastern pod of the Bowhead whale, also known as the Right Whale, because it was the right whale to kill, is near extinction. Estimates say there may be as few as ten left. They are no longer seen anywhere near the islands of Svalbard. There is nothing unusual in this. In fact the history of the slaughter of whales is much like that history of most industry, which goes through a period of exploitation of a natural resource until it is either replaced or extinguished. Nevertheless when reading about the industry I was struck by an image of remnants of ancient whalebones that still litter the beaches of the islands where the processing of whales took place over three hundred years ago. I think one of the reasons the image was so strong for me is that it reminded me of the logs, from our logging industry, that litter our BC beaches. It triggered questions like how to depict extinction? How to visualize what isn’t there anymore? What about things from the past that seem no longer relevant but still linger like ghosts in the corners of our imaginations? It was the starting off point for this exhibition.

Artist’s Statement

The encaustic medium offers a huge range of textural possibilities that enables me to play with the tension between the illusion of an image and the material presence that the painting engenders. Painting, like language, is fluid in meaning. Nothing is fixed; much is suggested. In my work I strive to integrate the formal aspects of the encaustic process with the ideas I have of the world. I wish to engage the viewer in the wonder and mystery of the art object; that strange juggling act of historical pastiche, sensuality and cultural bias.