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Shared Vision

Shared Vision The Collaborative Works of Matt and Amanda Caines

A Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre Exhibition 2015 A hardcopy of this publication can be ordered from

Recycled textile

Shared Vision Matt and Amanda Caines have been partners in art and life for the past twenty five years, their different practices running parallel and being mutually supported by the other. This exhibition shows, for the first time, the culmination of a total immersion in a joint viewpoint and an enmeshing and intertwining of their ideas and skills. It also shows how these themes have reflected back into their solo projects. Amanda’s background is in fine art and craft textiles, whilst Matt’s is sculpture and, in particular, stone carving.

Two trips proved especially influential in moving them to a point of convergence. Firstly Amanda made an extensive journey through Mexico, where the rich, heightened palette and the free and joyous approach to folk art proved the catalyst to a complete move into making jewellery. Some outsize and unwearable,

Mermaid with Fish, White Alabaster with recycled slate base

others a subtle combination of surfaces

such as found whale bones, musk ox

and textures, but each with a distinctive

horn and shed caribou antler, as well as

and often poignant narrative, the same

indigenous serpentine and kimberlite

contrasts and tones as her abstract

stone, but the whole approach to creating

painting but made concrete as a sculptural

sculpture which influenced him. The Inuit


carvers add and remove pieces of bone and antler as necessary, unlike a purely

Matt had always been fortunate to obtain

subtractive stone carving method. This

scholarship awards to enable periods of

moved him into a new phase of creating

study abroad in connection with his stone

smaller more highly decorated pieces,

work practice, in particular to Carrara in

often using engraving on found bone or

Italy and Greece to study marble carving.

antler, or scrimshaw.

It was a Wingate scholarship in 2012 that enabled him to live and work amongst some of Canada’s most well­ known Inuit stone and bone carvers. It was not only the introduction of new carving mediums,

Carved antler

Colour and form Gradually, Amanda’s coloured stitchwork started to overlap and colonise Matt’s wooden and antler sections leading to more integrated textures and surfaces, animated by vibrant fusions of blues, greys, shades of yellow and reds against the smooth, polished surfaces of his carving. These springboard pieces eventually Matt and Amanda’s first collaborations

progressed on to free standing forms

were necklaces to which Matt would add

with textile inserts, the panels held taut in

a decorated carved element to Amanda’s

negative spaces in the structures. Horses,

textile bases. These underpinned and led

deity figures and textile wall hangings

on to more highly integrated designs and

with engraved scrimshaw attachments

ideas, utilising both their strengths.

depicting anthropological and animistic themes of transformation became a

Matt’s sketchbooks

cypher for the melding of these very differing disciplines. They have also created wall hanging, puppet足like with







demonstrating a more cubist handling of these assemblage type constructions to give a feeling of a specific character. The contrasting materials create the tension and direction in these works as it is the main contributing factor in the wall hangings with small, multiple figures.

Angel’s head, Blue Alabaster

Symbolism and meaning Matt and Amanda often draw on images of animals and shamanic metamorphosis. Sculpturally, prehistoric and ancient forms percolate through and the idea of a small, unique and portable amulet has particular significance and a special resonance. Matt records a stream of consciousness of imagery in small sketchbooks that surface later in scrimshaw and stone pieces but only when they harmonise with a particular given form already hidden in

aware of the order of survival too.

the material. They are drawn to this idea as a link that The couple’s work is based on the

we all have to the natural world and as a

relationship of man and woman in nature

reminder in this age of distance from real

sometimes appearing harmonious but

time experiences, that we are as closely

Recycled textile

connected to the hand print on the walls

When the conditions are right, it is

of Lascaux as we are to the hand at the

an almost unspoken channeling of a

computer keyboard.

harmonious dialogue with the materials, where the properties of a piece of stone,

Matt and Amanda’s work happens

or thread have an equal say in what can

gradually and the practices of painting,

or can’t be done, and that flexibility forms

sewing, carving, and creating one off

the piece itself.

works are based in a daily experience of working and reworking, changing and

They see the connection to animal imagery

remaking. This practice may be seen as at

not just as the demonstration of affection

odds with modern mobile and computer

for the beauty of a particular creature, but

technologies but both feel this is the

a fundamental link to the property of the

actual pace of making for which we are

bird, bear or whale whether it be flight,

all programmed. This is something both

strength or wisdom.

Matt and Amanda are keen to stress in their education work, particularly with

This is a state of mind we all access as

young people.

children (how often do children talk of

Their compositions attempt to show this relationship as a formal moment, or tableaux that presents that link in an

their favourite animal) and the honouring of these qualities is still perpetuated in many indigenous communities around the world. Matt and Amanda wish to encapsulate an essence of this mystical link in intimate and textural hangings and sculptures.

ideal natural setting, demonstrated by Amanda’s muted palette against the sharpness of the highly polished hardness of the antler or wood.

Portland Stone

Amanda’s solo stitchwork panels, while

also uses the female figure in an abstracted

composed as abstractions often resonated

landscape as ideas fold back into her solo

with the feeling of rural landscape, a factor

pieces from collaborative themes.

that surprises the artist on occasion. She

These works develop from oil sketches on paper worked up in the studio as well as charcoal or conte drawings that go through different stages of abstraction into more stylised motifs and shapes. These starting points underpin the


stitchwork pieces but are worked and

the most favoured figurative iconography

reworked and often the final pieces are

apart from the animals.

hard to relate to the original sketches. Matt often uses this imagery in his own stonework as he feels it is tied to the process of ‘direct carving’ he employs and feels that his stones often ask him to become the many curves and soft twists of these female forms.

Archetypal mythological representations are used as the most common language, again to forge a primal response from the viewer. The angel and the mermaid are

Recycled textile

Conclusion In a fractured and fast paced world, Matt and Amanda Caines hope and intension is to provide the viewer with a small window onto a secret place, yet one we all know, but too often forget. A place of rich skies and colours, strong atmospheres, where time stands still as we face our animal brother and sisters, etheric angels and shamanic beings, feel their strength and wisdom and make it ours.

Portland Stone

Biographies Matt and Amanda Caines 1988

Matt and Amanda Caines meet.

1997 Matt takes a three year Diploma in Carving Architectural Stone Carving. 1999 Amanda travels to Mexico for six weeks and starts making jewellery. 2000 Matt takes up Queen Elizabeth Scholarship in a marble carving studio in Carrara, Italy for two months. Returns twice for carving projects. 2005 Amanda shows jewellery at the Jacob Javits Centre, New York, organised by Flow Gallery & The Crafts Council 2006 Amanda travels to India and is inspired by Indian art, its colours, patterns and stitchwork. 2008 Matt wins Winston Churchill Scholarship to work on marble carvings at Dellatolas studio in Tinos, Greece 2009 & 2010 Amanda takes part in Origins showing jewellery 2009 - 2014 Amanda takes part in Sieraad International Jewellery exposition, Amsterdam. 2010 Amanda UK winner of bi-annual New Traditional Jewellery competition, Sieraad. 2010 - 2011 Amanda takes part in Words and Pottery shows at Flow Gallery showing jewellery

2010 & 2011 Amanda exhibits jewellery at Sofa exhibition, Philidelphia through Flow Gallery. 2012 Amanda makes mixed-media boxed sculptures for Antropologie to be show in London and New York 2012 Matt wins Wingate Scholarship to work in Arctic Canada at the Ashoona studio and to study Inuit Sculpture. Starts carving bone and making scrimshaw. 2012 Amanda takes part in Loot at the Museum of Art and Design, New York 2012 & 2014 Matt and Amanda exhibit collaborative jewellery at Sieraad International Jewellery Exposition, Amsterdam 2014 Amanda exhibits large stitchwork piece ‘Skirrid’ at Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2014 Matt and Amanda take part in Dark Tales Exhibition at Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Wales. Show wall hangings and free standing sculptures. 2015 Shared Vision Exhibition-Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Wales

Carved antler

Carved antler

‘Shared Vision - The Collaborative Works of Matt and Amanda Caines’ A Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre Exhibition.

Design: Hillview Design Published by Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre. Text LGAC 2014 Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre St.David’s Road Cwmbran Torfaen NP441PD T: +44(0)1633 483321 E: W: Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre is part of the Arts Council of Wales portfolio of Revenue Funded Organisations. Registered Charity no: 1006933 Company Limited by Guarantee no: 2616241 Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre is funded by the Arts Council of Wales, Torfaen County Borough Council and Monmouthshire County Council. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without written permission from the publisher.

Shared vision  

The collaborative work of Matt and Amanda Caines A Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre Exhibition 2015

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