Oracle artist Matthias Düwel doesn’t put labels on art styles but describes his art as something between figurative and abstract and readily admits that it reflects the politics of the environment and “all the things going on in the world.”
“I like painting something that is open to the viewer’s own interpretation,” he said.
Matthias was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. He attended the Universitӓt der Künste in Berlin where he received his Master Fine Arts degree. In 1984, he was one of two people selected out of 500 applications to receive a grant from the German government to attend school in the United States. He attended the New York Studio School in New York City for his post-graduate studies. It was there that he met his wife Emily Stern Düwel, an artist, in 1984. They were married in 1985.
Emily’s parents, painter Jean and composer Jacob Stern, were part of the group that co-founded the artist community at Rancho Linda Vista, in Oracle, in 1967. Matthias and Emily would visit the ranch every summer. “After 9/11, it was hard to make money,” said Matthias. In 2004 a house opened up at the ranch and they moved to Oracle.
Prior to the move, Matthias was the Adjunct Professor of Drawing, Painting and Multimedia at Parsons School of Design/New School University from 1998 – 2004. In 2005, he went to work at Pima Community College in Tucson as an Adjunct Professor and later as a Lead Faculty member. He continues to teach art at Pima. Each year, Matthias brings some of his promising students to Rancho Linda Vista for an exhibit of their work. He is continuing the ongoing influence of Rancho Linda Vista artists on the Arizona and national art scene.
Matthias is an accomplished artist. He has had his work displayed in galleries and personal collections internationally. His art has appeared in numerous exhibits in Berlin, New York City, Paris, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles and San Francisco. His works are in permanent collections in the Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona; Musée de’Estampes, Geneva, Switzerland; Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin (Museum of the City of Berlin) Berlin, Germany; Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas; and the Library of Congress, Washington D.C..
His art exhibits have received many positive reviews from publications such as the Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Weekly, New Jersey Star Ledger, Hi-Fructose Magazine, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Ars Quarterly, Huffington Post and newspapers in Germany and France.
Matthias says he has always liked Renaissance art and named Francis Bacon and a
German artist named Anselm Kiefer as influences but he said, “I always did my own thing.”
He recently participated in a show in Tucson “X is for Xenophobia: I am America” in which he did a series of paintings about the refugee crisis in Europe and the fear of the people. The series is titled “Irrwanderung.” There is no direct translation of this German word to English, said Matthias, “it is something like roaming around aimlessly, confused, like zombies.”
Matthias doesn’t know what role art can play in today’s world.
“It’s good for people to make art to help themselves. Art has become overrated and has become too much of a commodity,” he said.
There is a statement on his website which reflects much of his art which can sometimes be dark although intriguing: “We have arrived at a unique point in time when production and consumption are simultaneous. No sooner is a thing brand new, it is used up, disposed. Not just things but places and people too.”
You can view more of Matthias’ art and learn more about him on his website www.mathiasduwel.com or visit him on Facebook, Düwel:Art.