Matthew Harris (Textile Art, 2010)Blue Cellophane Cloth2018

Matthew Harris

Shortlisted in 2010 for Textile Art

Goldsmith’s trained Matthew Harris has never been interested in ‘perfect’ textiles. It’s the interruption of the patterned surface which excites him. Cloth is made imperfect as a result of patches, tears, darns and frayed edges held together with purely necessary stitches; these are the qualities which motivate him to make work.

Matthew’s practice makes reference to a number of textile traditions but also to a wide variety of other sources and influences, including music. This interest was sparked by a friendship with the conductor Martin Brabbins, who showed him the highly individual language of notation employed by the composer, Karlheinz Stockhausen.

With drawing and music coming together, this connection led to several commissions; in 2001 he was commissioned to make the backdrop for the Cheltham International Music Festival. Matthew’s completed his first large-scale public commission for the new Colston Hall Concert Venue in Bristol in March 2009.

Matthew’s innovative cloths are labour-intensive, constructed using a number of simple hand techniques. The process of drawing is an essential part of his practice. He has developed a method of working that explores ways of translating the drawn marks into cloths. He tries, wherever possible, to exhibit both drawing and cloth together. Through a process of painting, cutting, patching and hand stitching, Harris constructs abstract images. Harris has exhibited in many prestigious venues both in the UK and abroad.