Painting  —  September 19, 2020

Unfolding Chaos

In her new series, Mary Mattei explores the imagery and imminent fear of COVID through a monochromatic palette. Using Tyvek (a synthetic for wrapping houses) as a canvas she creates bold additive and subtractive strokes, exploring mark making with acrylic, gesso, charcoal, graphite and pigment powder to capture and portray the confusion, panic, and fear of the unknown with abstract symbolism.
Though the original series began as a fascination with the imagery of the virus shape itself, the series developed, grew, and eventually departed from its inspiration. As an “intuitive painter” Mattei, only sometimes starts with a general concept, and often works out what the final product will be as she is working, continually building upon, and scraping away the layers creating rich, impregnated surfaces.
Ultimately her pieces, both non-representative yet reflective of familiar natural patterns, leave interpretation and feeling up to the beholder in their abstraction.
by Alyssa Mattei
by Mary Mattei
See more images in the printed issue - Issue 008, Fall 2020! Available in the Aislin Shop. 
Mary Mattei is a Boston based artist who has been painting for many decades. Rarely sticking to a single medium, she has explored and worked in watercolour, acrylic, oil and encaustic (wax) over her years working in the art world. You can follow her on Instagram @mattei_mary and see her portfolio online at
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