We cooperate as an association to advance the practice of sculpture and the reputation and appreciation of sculpture and sculptors in the community. This is regardless of whether or not we make a living from sculpture and regardless of our preferred style or medium. To this end we support artists’ moral rights, we advocate a professional attitude to the production and presentation of work and encourage the artistic and intellectual stimulation of interaction amongst artists of all persuasions.
Vale Matthew Harding
I am saddened to write informing members of the Association of Sculptors of Victoria of the recent death of Matthew Harding who tragically ended his life on Thursday, 22 February 2018, in Trentham, aged 53.
Matthew resided in Trentham with his wife and four young children. His studio and workshop are also based in the township. Many of you will remember him opening the Association’s Annual exhibition in 2016.
Although acquainted through friendship, it is only appropriate that those closest to Matthew reference his life and speak to his personal qualities. With that in mind, if I may, I would like to offer the following tribute.
It is challenging to describe the depth and complexity of Matthew’s life as an artist. The breadth of his three-decade-long artistic career is extensive and significant. A prolific, multi-skilled artist with a considerable exhibiting history, he has notable lists of private commissions and major public installations, and some noteworthy prize awards. The array of his sculptural and visual art works situated across Victoria, around Australia and in many parts of the world are testament to and a constant reminder of his standing as one of the most inventive, appealing and well-respected contemporary Australian designers and sculptors.
The evident regard for Matthew’s mighty catalogue of works arises in response to his appreciation of conceptual excellence, his keenness for creative challenges, and, ultimately, his bravery and tenacity in achieving resolution of the form. I, for one, am inspired, and often rediscover my sense of wonderment, when viewing many of his works. And in all that energy to manifest works engendering intrigue, intricacy and dynamism, his artistic temperament has stood strong and authentically. Matthew’s seemingly innate ability to conceive and design sculpture of sometimes stunning magnitude and scale, yet all the while counter-pointed by works of contemplative and reflective qualities, reveal time and again his exquisite craftsmanship and dexterity traversing many styles, media and disciplines.
I was fortunate and honoured to have Matthew open and introduce my exhibition at Little Gallery in Trentham in 2016. He was in fine form that evening.
Matthew will be profoundly and forever missed by his family. He will be deeply missed as a wonderful human being. His infectious behaviour, enthusiasm and engagement with so many as a mentor, collaborator, colleague and friend will also be missed for long. May he remain an inspiration for future artistic endeavours of many within the creative collective.
My sincere condolences to Matthew’s immediate and extended family.
Vale Matthew Harding, farewell.
A Mass celebrating Matthew’s life will be conducted on Thursday 8th March 2018, at 11:00am at St Mary Magdalen Catholic Church, in Trentham. Immediately following the Mass, Matthew will be buried at Trentham Cemetery. The service will be followed by a wake at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Trentham. For more information please contact Natural Grace Funeral Services in Woodend on 1300 008 037. Matthew’s wife, Freya, plans to create a garden in Matthew’s honour, so that the family can tend, nurture and grow something beautiful from their loss. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to bring a frost-tolerant plant of your choice.
More information can be found on http://www.matthewharding.com.au/ including a link to a support fund to assist his young family.