Mattes at BYU

Danae Mattes: Where the River Widens

December 2018

“I have come to view my work as a synthesis of the experiences I have when walking through landscape; a culmination of my observations and perceptions of nature.” – Danae Mattes… read more

Danae Mattes at NUMU Los Gatos


October 2017

Danae Mattes will be included in "Waterlines," an art exhibition that delves into the deep connection between humanity and water.… read more

Widewalls previews Danae Mattes' November exhibition

Danae Mattes' Landscapes are coming to Dolby Chadwick Gallery

October 2016

Tracing the footsteps of the visionary Turner, through the poetic mist of Thomas Wilmer Dewing and beyond, she creates her own impressions of the world that is as much visible and tangible, as invisible, as that of the soul. Not exactly landscapes per se, not so much of the land, but rather appearing to be made of water in all of its natural states of matter – they are transitory waterscapes infused with the idea of permeability.… read more

Indestructible Wonder opens at San Jose Museum of Art

August 2016

The precarious relationship between nature and humanity is the subject of this exhibition, drawn from SJMA’s permanent collection. For over two generations since Rachel Carson’s landmark book Silent Spring (1962) triggered the modern environmentalist movement, contemporary artists have been similarly moved by a primal reverence for nature and thus also prompted to raise questions about our rampant impact on the earth’s fragile ecosystems.… read more

Rain, A Hundred Roots Silently Drinking, 2010, clay, paper, and pigment on canvas, 66 x 133 x 9 inches.

Danae Mattes at the Snite Museum of Art

Transitory Waterscapes: Landscape Paintings and Evaporation Pool by Danae Mattes

October 2015

The Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, will feature landscape paintings and an evaporation pool by American artist Danae Mattes from August 9 to December 6, 2015.… read more

ARTnews reviews "Two Geologies"

May 2014

Titled "Two Geologies," this exhibition paired the materially and geologically driven works of American sculptor Stephen De Staebler (1933-2011) with recent paintings by his widow, Danae Mattes.… read more

SFAQ: “Two Geologies” featuring Stephen De Staebler & Danae Mattes at Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco.

February 2014

Stephen De Staebler died in 2011 at age 78, but not before he was privy to arrangements being made for his retrospective at the De Young the following year, “Matter + Spirit: The Sculpture of Stephen De Staebler.” A student of Theology schooled at Princeton University (BA 1954), he attended summer classes at legendary Black Mountain College, and later studied ceramics with Peter Voulkos at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to the production of his own art, he was a professor at The San Francisco Art Institute and San Francisco State University, inspiring a new generation of clay artists.… read more

Fresno Art Museum: Inherent Processes

September 2004

Danae Mattes: Inherent Processes at the Fresno Art Museum. The Fresno Art Museum has presented many mid-career artists over the last fifty years and has an outstanding record of support for the work of California women artists. Few have possessed such a spirit of radiance and the informed sensitivity of sculptor Dane Mattes. It is with great pride that we introduce the exhibition "Danae Mattes: Inherent Process" to our patrons and supporting friends. Danae Mattes' ceramic sculptural abstractions are both organic and iconic. Informed by the natural world of process, Mattes hands have worked clay into vertical conceptual images presented as the "Sibyl Series". She has used both clay and water creating circular forms known as "Evaporation Pools". As a means of contemplation, these works take on a presence of timelessness offering a means of passage for the human spirit. The figures, though deliberately formed of clay, bear both mythological and poetic symbolisms that are ultimately released tot he transformative power of chance. Through the process of evaporation, randomly textural surfaces emerge giving voice to the mystery of permeability. Having chosen clay and water as medium, the condition of permeability becomes a metaphor for the essence of transformation. Educated at Edinboro State University of Pennsylvania, followed by earning an MFA at Long Beach State University, Mattes has an extensive record of solo exhibitions both in California and in Germany as well as numerous group exhibitions in the United States and in Europe. She has been an artists in residence most recently at Cite Internationale de Arts, Paris, France preceded by grants and residencies at the European Cermaic Work Center, s'Hertogenbosch, Holland; Taller Huara-Huara, Santiago, Chile; Kultusministerin des Landes Scheleswig-Holstein, Germany; Elbstrasse 41, City of Lauenburg/Elbe, Germany; and a One Year Grant, Kunstlerhaus, Lauenburg, Kultusministerin des Landes Schlesswih-Holstein, Germany. Danae Mattes has executed five public sculpture commissions and her work is represented in both private and public art collections.… read more

Danae Mattes' Sibyls & Pools

September 2003

Danae Mattes was born in the eastern part of the US in 1958 and sent her childhood and college years in Pennsylvania, a region distinctly different from California. Mattes savored the tempo of the eastern seasons and developed a sensitivity to the impulse of nature. These early observations asserted a lasting influence on the artists, who cites the subtleties of nature as a profound influence in her work. Mattes' sculptural concerns are a part of a larger confluence of ideas. Nature, along with poetry and creative exchange are equal operatives in her artistic development. Her ideas are realized primarily in ceramic sculpture; mottled clay stalks, glacial-like pools and mythic steles define a scope of work she has been making for nearly 10 years. Engaging the sensibilities of nature is part of what defines Mattes' sculptural output. She tempers clay with water and finds opportunity in its many physical states: dry powder, liquid slip and its malleable form. The exchange of clay and water determines the ultimate result with atmospheric conditions as a less obvious third factor. For the artists these efforts go beyond a parallel of natural action to create a piece. Her practice includes contemplation of natural phenomena so that a subtle occurrence, like the reflection of a bird in flight over water, is more influential that its physical reality. In his book, Postmodern Ceramics, Mark Del Vecchio applies the term "organic abstraction" to the work of many artists whose styles portray in form and substance, realities found in nature. Whether volcanic, biomorphic, undulating or fluid, artists use clay to create work that is not far removed from the force of nature. As such temporal elements are often suggested in their work, "Dark Pool", 1996, illustrates this transitory aspect in the sculpture of Danae Mattes. The work itself made from stiff coloured clay, appears hewn with glacial scratches and fissures across the surface. Mattes echoes natural forces at play in the piece forming a geologically-inspired shallow arc. It then receives clay slip to create a pool or sluice. For her, the process of evaporation from the saturated form creates a situation of tension, often resulting in random cracking in the pool and the development of sunken surfaces. These sculptures are not static three-dimneionsal objects but rather aesthetic documents continuing an on-going investigation with symbolic implications. Mattes' stalk-like ensembles, titled Sibyl Series, are kindred figurations. She arranges vertical postured forms that address the contemplative aspect of her work. The series is comprised of several extensions that reach skyward. They are dusted with glaze stains and placed rhythmically on a wall slightly elevated off the floor. As a mythological figure a sibyl prophesied influential events. For Mattes they signify a prophetic voice unbound by time or culture. The iconic pieces are long trough-like forms of varying width. Approximately 2 m (6 ft) in height, they are like intermediaries reduced to a central spine and elongated orifice. Drawing parallels between the movement of water through the landscape and the movement of water through the body, the artist strives toward a heightened state of interconnectedness that goes beyond physicality. She explains: "Though their forms feel 'of the earth', a sibyl is not limited to the physicality of nature alone but exists in a state of ideological or spiritual receptivity and conveyance." As a sculptural presentation, the Sibyl Series is complex. The tempo of their arrangement and their poetic juxtapositions provide an interpretive opportunity. Her preference for coloured clays, coated with engobe or stain, define a surface that is crusty and tactile or cracked and smooth. The negative space between the forms also create a visual ebb and flow. When asked why she chose to work with clay in a series, her response that, "any one idea cannot be contained in one place," reflects her approach. While not all of Mattes' pieces contain the transitory component of water evaporation and residue, her sculpture consistently addresses implications of environmental traces. Whether through ceramic sculpture, site-specific installation or her folio-sized wall objects made of transparent paper and ink, her concerns go beyond the immediate objectification of the work to a transitory implication. Many sculptors desire the fingerprint or hand as a visible touchstone in their work but Danae Mattes implies geological forces to further suggest a secondary impression. To achieve this result is as much an internal as external process and one that is inspired more by a scope of thought than by the work of other artists. As clay is the most chameleon of all substances in its liquid, soft or malleable form, it allows for subtle manipulations realized in her sculpture. -Nancy M. Servis Director of The Pence Gallery in Davis, CA.… read more