Matthew Askey occupies a rather unique place among British Artists. Not only does he draw, and paint, play the saxophone and curate exhibitions, he is also an ordained priest and chaplain. His role as Southwell Minster School Chaplain sees him at the Minster and as part of the cathedral clergy and as head of department for cathedral education. It is his role in the church that inspires and informs his work as an artist/painter. He makes paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture and sees making and sharing art as an integral part of his prayer life and ministry.
A key part of his work is the ‘Daily Selfie drawing’. These daily drawings are made ‘live’ from looking into a circular bronze mirror and the resulting works are same size as the mirror. In these works he often wears costumes that represent a part of his spiritual journey, using contemporary language. In his “spider man” series he appears as Thomas the Apostle, and in another as St Philip The Apostle as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. As St Paul he appears wearing a false beard or with his face distorted by Cellotape.
His work is truthful in its self-examination. It explores his current state, both visually, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. However, it also draws upon bigger themes, such as a shared/universal experience of life and the tragi-comic state of being human.
Matthew Askey, Self-Portrait as St Bartholomew/Spider-Man (after Michelangelo), 2019, egg-tempera on medite panel, 20cm diameter.
Image: Matthew Askey, Self-Portrait as St Bartholomew/Spider-Man (after Michelangelo), 2019, egg-tempera on medite panel, 20cm diameter.