Crista Van Slyck-Matteson’s multi-media art speaks of her love for wild spaces and deep connection to the Pacific Northwest. An accomplished sculptor, she allows her finely-honed intuition to guide spontaneous sculpting of natural world observations. Matteson’s work also utilizes technical mold-making skills to create exact replicas of found botanical forms. She combines these skills to create magical-realist sculptures.
Matteson states: “My sculptures live in a magical, narrative space between memories and imagination. A space that gives equal importance to the real and the imagined stories of the natural world. My interactions with the wilderness are woven into my themes. By creating stylized glass trophies, I am attempting to both capture the magical essence of untamed creatures that share my environment and honor them. With every outdoor adventure, I bring new inspiration into my studio.”
She continues: “Forest Watcher Sees All is my latest series of kiln cast glass sculptures. These works spring from my observations and research into the connectedness of all living things. As a resident of one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, I see and feel the impact on our local ecosystem. I explore the idea of kinship to shed light on what this means for our collective future.”
After receiving a BFA in textiles from the California College of Art in San Francisco, Matteson began her varied art career in costume design. Since then, her pursuit of fine art education has been relentless. Having won several merit scholarships, the artist began to study glass and metal working at the Pratt Fine Art Center and figure sculpting in the Sculpture Atelier at Gage Academy, both in Seattle. In 2018 and 2019, she furthered her glass studies at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington.
Exhibited at fine art galleries, museums and public art installations across the US, Matteson’s work is represented by Bender Gallery, Asheville, North Carolina, the Museum of Glass, Washington State, and Habatat Gallery, Royal Oak, Michigan. Her work was recognized with a Collector’s Choice Award from Habatat Gallery’s International Glass Exhibit and Juror’s Choice Awards at Mesa Contemporary Art Museum, the Schack Art Center, and Pratt Fine Art Center’s annual auction. Matteson was selected to exhibit notable glass work at the 2019 Pilchuck annual auction and in 2021 to create a large mixed media public installation for Amazon Headquarters in Seattle. Her teaching experience includes work as an assistant instructor at The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York, and Pratt Fine Art Center.
In recent months, Matteson has produced new sculpture for Bender Gallery and The Museum of Glass Store in Tacoma. New work was also created for Habatat Gallery’s 50th anniversary exhibition in Royal Oak, Michigan – Habatat’s Glass Art Fair – opening September 9, 2021.
On October 15, her studio will participate in the Glass Art Society’s Collectors Tour, held during this year’s Refract: Seattle Glass Experience. Tickets on sale through the Refract website (link below). On October 16, the artist will demonstrate and discuss her work during scheduled studio tours, also part of Refract.
She says: “I have explored many different mediums but didn’t fall in love with glass work until I realized it could be cast like bronze. Spontaneity of sculpting and carving wax feeds my intuitive, somewhat impulsive side. Making molds of natural objects, such as mushrooms, to be replicated in glass, feeds my need to catalogue the natural world around me. My hunger for a technical challenge is satisfied by the involved aspects of heating a solid glass into a liquid, and then forming, annealing, and cooling it. I enjoy engineering complex forms and pushing the limits of glass. Aesthetically, I feel the transparency of glass reflects the ethereal quality of our ecosystem and cautions the viewer to tread carefully.”