Faster than words, painting is older than thought. The way we perceive the world is more significant than the way we think about it: It's the first experiencing.

For me it's about integration - the old and the new experiences; holding them together, making sense through mythology.

But the image is not reached directly. It stands behind as an emergent value - something lost, half-glimpsed, somehow essential.


I rely on recognition and have very few tricks. It's no careful gardening - more like a battlefield or tumbling through a hedge. What happened in this painting was a rollercoaster ride. Over the months it moved and evolved.

Rollercoast is founded on a part of Cornwall that I know - a stretch of coast between Portreath and Godrevy. It's an image from my life; a walkabout - quietly endless, difficult and surprising.

Portreath is an open bay with a round hill and long pier. It's slate, north facing, steep, shady and very dark. The coast is flat - like you could roll marbles on it - but the road twists and turns. As you reach Godrevy you turn right around onto the south-facing coast of St Ives Bay.

However, I'm using landscape here as a device to enclose myth: Asclepius, born out of the flames of a funeral pyre.

The landscape construction in Whitesands is the bay from Cape Cornwall to Sennen. The central image is a figure from the story of Pasiphae.

A lot of the time I'm engaged with childhood memories and imagination. But out of Cornwall I discover new kinds of place.

Since returning from the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia - crossing snowfields above the tree line; exploring enormous spaces in the huge mountains - new issues have stomped-in with both feet. I was looking for signs and found that sense of recognition - the feeling of being there before.

Mountain Pass
picks up on
an equivalent to Cornwall's industrial past: A piece of old tourism in the abandoned cablehouse and derelict pylons of Tatranska Lomnica. It all competes for attention with images of Cornwall.


Mountain Pass


Place is more than locality: 'Portrait of a place' was a way my father found to talk about what he was doing. It has a different ambition than the picturesque.


 Copyright  © Matthew Lanyon 2020. All rights reserved.