Matt Moriarty


Untitled – Kaikoura, 2017
Giclee Print on Cotton Rag, 510 x 420mm
Wishbone – Kaikoura, 2017
Giclee Print on Cotton Rag, 510 x 420mm
Wishbone – Kaikoura, 2017
Digital print on Translucent Vinyl (Lightbox installation) – 895 x 895mm



Matt was born on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island in the small coastal town of Greymouth.

He studied design at the Victoria University of Wellington & Massey University of Wellington, completing his bachelor’s degree in 1999, and has since worked in the creative sector in New Zealand and Australia as a graphic designer whilst continuing his art practice. He currently lives and works from his home studio in Kaikoura, an eco-tourism town on the South Island’s east coast renown for its natural diversity and conservation focus that inform and inspire his practice.

Earlier artworks of Moriarty’s examine New Zealand iconography from the viewpoint of a concern for their multi-cultural desaturation and pop appropriation. Here, he mixes traditional cultural objects such as the Hei Tiki, Taiha and Patu – with internationally commercialised design icons such as the Helvetica typeface and the Swiss Army Knife, in a clean graphic style reflective of his vocational background.

More recently, since his return to his roots in New Zealand’s South Island, Moriarty’s focus has shifted more towards his appreciation and concern for the natural environment – so prevalent in New Zealand’s mainland. The graphic style, however, remains strong. Recent work, a body titled Bone Park, examines the role of New Zealand’s National Parks in regards to cultural identity and environmental change. A piece within this series, titled Suture, was a recent recipient of merit at the 2011 Waikato National Contemporary Art Awards and exhibited at the Waikato Museum.

Currently, alongside postgraduate study in fine art, his work investigates the diagram as a pictorial device in painting, and how holism and reductionism of pictorial elements effect the perception of an image.

Artist statement

This work is part of an ongoing investigation into the diagram as a pictorial device in painting.

The process of making involves working with paint horizontally on a flat surface. Acrylic paint is trapped between layers of transparent film to build the image. Acrylic paint in liquid form is isolated from both air and subsequent layers of working, only at times penetrating the layers of membrane and bleeding out into one another. The isolated layers of transparent and opaque pigment create an illusion of the paintings ‘thickness’.

In material, the paint’s liquidity is suspended, unable to harden due to its lack of exposure to air. The work is in flux long after the layering process is completed. Its horizontal address of working is unable to be shifted to the vertical address of the wall for viewing without intervention.

Digitisation of the image through photography and it’s reproduction through pigment printing allow this vertical axial shift to occur. The resulting illusion of liquidity in the reproduction indexes the horizontal address of making.

The work questions the convention of a printed image (of a painting) as a reproduction. Perhaps the work could be described as a painting for print.

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