bio / statement

JoMattison_smartist bio

J O  M A T T I S O N
Bachelor of Fine Arts, La. Tech University, 1977

Since her grade-school days of winning art contests, Jo Mattison’s first love has been painting. Growing up in Louisiana, Jo’s earliest exposure to art was watching her mother and grandmother draw. Her aunt was an accomplished artist that inspired her as well.  She had a natural talent that was recognized and encouraged by family and teachers. Early on, Mattison drew and painted the beauty of the world around her.  She wasn’t exposed to books about art and didn’t visit a museum until college.

Studying art beginning at Louisiana State University, Jo was excited to delve into sculpture, ceramics, figure drawing and oil painting.  After earning her BFA, Mattison explored the fields of interior design and decorative arts but ultimately came back to painting canvases.  From her experience doing frescoes on walls, Mattison discovered she prefers working with the blade of a trowel instead of with brushes.  She loves working with eco-friendly water based media now more than with oils. Jo mixes acrylic tints into plasters to get texture on her large pieces and then layers in the composition.  Mattison turns out vibrant, luminous works inspired by Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Clyfford Still, Helen Frankenthaler and other abstract expressionists.

Mattison’s paintings can be found brightly coloring walls in the US and abroad. Mostly, they can be seen in many private collections in the Dallas area.  Her largest commercial installation is Pegasus Bank in Dallas. A list of private collectors is available upon request.


artist statement

Using only large palette knives and trowels, I prefer to work big and bold. But before starting a piece, I do a small study on paper with pastels. This gets the excitement going and propels me to the canvas.  Then, with lots of energy, I begin applying a textured base of tinted plaster.  I layer color upon color and scrape back until I get the desired effect. I am always looking for that surprise that can be found underneath the layers of paint and plaster.   I consider myself a color-field artist which means my works usually have one predominant color over a large portion of the piece.  I like the simplicity of this style of work.  The fields of color have depth, or rather glow from within.

This process of expressing myself through my abstract creations gives me peace.  I can push through negative thoughts and manage the grief I live with daily. It’s very liberating! Without thinking too much, I paint from an inner place deep inside.  Inspiration surfaces and I work and watch a piece come together. Sometimes as I am going along, a painting will just create itself abandoning the original plan. It’s fascinating!  I love the unpredictability that comes with the process – it keeps me yearning for more.  Paintings don’t leave the studio until I feel some kind of tension from them, either positive, negative or a combination of both.  As I explore that inner stillness in my head, truth and honesty are captured in each piece.  Everyday I continue to learn as I paint and the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to just work from the heart.