I never made the decision to become an artist...

I made the decision to make art.

When I was 13, I wanted to be an architect; at 14, a graphic designer; and at 15, I picked up a paint brush and never looked back. My work continues to evolve and incorporates paintings, drawings, collages, constructions and mixed media.

For me, art and life go hand in hand. I have always viewed life through art, it’s how I make sense of the world. Painting allows me to pull everything apart, decipher it and put it back together; both physically and metaphorically.

Throughout my travels I encountered people, places, ceremonies, and celebrations that had a profound artistic impact. I began exploring how we live and die and confront the challenges and responsibilities of contemporary life. I investigated the contrast between cultural ceremonies and the rituals that compose our everyday routine.

My work is both serious and humorous, playful and sincere, purposeful and deliberately haphazard.

My approach to making art shifts between chaos and order, mirroring not only life and death but the balancing act therein. The process in and of itself also epitomises my desire to cram as much as I can into life and art, coupled with the inevitable editing that must occur to fit within the reality of what is actually possible.

About 3

“De Mather’s paintings replicate the traces of industry, and the cryptograms of graffiti, on walls of contemporary spaces. They flash with comic book exclamations, bleed with paint scrawled behind alleyways, and are seared by an essence of New York grit.”
David O’Halloran

“De Mather’s works encourage viewers to construct their own meanings and connections…He creates layers of images, motifs and text from disparate sources and assembles them onto a literal patchwork of reused canvases…an urban fabric full of signs that are particular to the artist.”
Louise Tegart

Central to my practice is the creative process I employ. Much like a musical sample or patchwork fabric, I reuse and recycle previous works and canvas, cutting them up and casting them amongst new landscapes.

Instead of drop sheets, canvas lays across the studio floor, capturing the marks left behind: drips, drops, splatters, stencils, footprints, brush wipes. These spontaneous markings form part of a paradoxical process where they will eventually be selected, sliced, sampled and incorporated, into an as yet unrealised artwork. I refer to these as “contemporary leftovers”, a collection of disjointed stories, themes and ideas sewn together across time and space. The past is anticipated, the present is honoured and the future is recorded as a new masterpiece is created, wholly unrecognised from the sum of its parts.

Often I find myself more interested in these markings than the marks I try to make. They represent the things that happen when we’re not looking, the lines that lead us elsewhere, the possibility and promise of an unexpected journey.

his process is as much about building a personal iconography as it is putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Always reinventing and recapitulating the image, I focus on creation, construction and connection to join the dots between past work and new ideas. And so, the cycle continues.

key solo shows.

Chase the Sun, VMG Art Series, 2022.
Art, Life, Love, Death, Immortality and a Respectable Haircut…, fortyfivedownstairs, 2017.
Dancing With Death, Raglan Street Gallery, 2014.
M N M L  V  M X M L, Cowwarr Art Space, 2011.
Movement Mashes, Linton and Kay Contemporary, 2009.
Chinese Whispers and Chain Reactions, Gippsland Art Gallery, 2008.
Contemporary Leftovers, Latrobe Regional Gallery, 2005.
Ignite, Jackman Gallery, 2004.
Travelling without Moving, Gippsland Art Gallery, 2003.
Moderns Gods, Glen Eira City Gallery, 2002.

selected curated exhibitions.

HERE Again, fortyfivedownstairs, 2021.
Love, Brunswick Street Galleries, 2018.
Refraction, Gippsland Centre for Art & Design, 2017.
1000 2000’s, Blindside Gallery, 2016.
(un)natural, Cowwarr Art Space, 2015.
A Book About Death, Tweed River Art Gallery, 2013.
Translations, The Melbourne Pavilion, 2013.
Sweet Streets, 1000 Pound Bend, 2010.
Matryoshka Principle, Pine Street Gallery and Bus Gallery, 2008.
Hockey Plot, West Space and Gippsland Art Gallery, 2008.

selected awards.

Finalist – Paul Guest Prize, 2022.
Finalist – Percival Portrait Painting Prize, 2022 & 2020.
Finalist – Prospect Portrait Prize, 2021.
Artist in residence – fortyfivedownstairs, 2017.
Semi-finalist – Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, 2015 & 2012.
Winner – RAW Melbourne Artist of the Year, 2013.
Artists in residence – Appleton Street Studios, 2010.
Finalist – Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, 2010, 2007 & 2004.
Semi-finalist – Young Australian of the Year Awards, 2000.
Winner – Aurora Australis Award, 2000.

Scroll to Top