'Matthew Finn's portraits of his mother at home are tender to a point but far from saccharine. They portray a sense of vulnerability - on occasions she looks lost and drawn despite her cosy domestic setting. The trust that the subject puts into her documenter is testament to the closeness of their relationship, and it is this that lends the images their power'.
The Guardian Culture Magazine
Matthew Finn (b. 1971 Leeds) finished his Degree in Photography from Derby University in 1994 then gained a MA degree from Westminster University in Photographic Studies during which he continued to work on personal photographic projects that developed over a long period of time. With no commercial constraints or deadlines, Finn cultivated a working practice of an auteur, in charge of all elements of the work where the craft of the print and the whole process became important to the photographer. Working on subjects about people that were important in his life, he made and continues to make images of students whom he has worked with in various art colleges in England and a collaboration with his mother whom he has photographed within her home environment for over 27 years. With his mother diagnosed with dementia and her subsequent move into a sheltered 24 hour nursing home, the nature of the work has changed moving away from collaboration to one of passive sitter. He is the recipient of the Jerwood/ Photoworks Awards in 2015.
School of Art
During the 1990s it was still possible to find pockets of liberal, free thinking attitudes to making work, surrounded by stunning slightly crumbling decor, large windows, high ceilings and polished parquet flooring. School of Art looks at the environments, where these creative young individuals cultivated ideas and opinions and made work that they believed in whilst still adhering to the old traditions still relevant in the Art School. Students lost in academic systems could break free from the shackles of Uniforms and text books and make their mark, given time to figure out what they wanted and who they were in a free open minded environment. School of Art allows us to take a closer look at the environments, the individuals, and the styles that made these unique and much loved at a time before work loads, computer consoles, small rooms, Human resources and of course fees.
Since 1987 Matthew has been collaborating with his Mother, Jean in a series of portraits that depict her everyday rituals set within her home in Leeds. Documenting everyday ordinary moments, normally passed over for special events such as Birthdays, Christmas, Christenings and Holidays. Matthew has focused to show his mother as a woman going about her daily routine, using the family home as a backdrop this extraordinary project now in its 29th year lets viewers into a home reminiscent to how we all live. Following his mother from middle age to elderly woman now suffering from mixed dementia and leaving the family home into a residential care home, these images serve to show the warmth and fragility of life.
'Mother' the monograph has recently been published by Dewi Lewis and Finn was named the Expert Winner at Photo Oxford 2017.
The work will also be exhibited here at Francesca Maffeo Gallery in November 2017.
'Mother, "I've lived a good life"' is on show at Francesca Maffeo Gallery from 4th November to 23rd December 2017.
© Matthew Finn
Interview with Matthew Finn