Georgia Mathewson, Canada

Residency Period: 1 May 2015 - 31 October 2015


Georgia Mathewson is an Ottawa, Canada based artist working in the fields of painting, mixed media, drawing, installation and, most recently, sound poetry in the group the Quatuor Gualuor. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art in 2008 from The University of Ottawa and has since been working in groups, collectives and through a solo practice.

Working from a meticulous process, her method is built on both intuitive and rational ways of thinking. One allows for ambiguous and fantastical imagery to unfold, while the other requires decisions to be made according to the boundaries and specifications of her materials. Her upbringing on a farm in rural Ontario informs her work, and she uses this experience to reflect on what it means to be a ruralist living in an urban environment.

On-hiatus Proposal Summary

Upon graduating from art school, Georgia enjoyed a period of fulfilling productivity with a group of other artist friends with whom she formed a collective named "Focus Group." ( She recalls that there was a great deal of optimism within the group during this period and it was easy to get caught up in the art making process, forgetting that they were all dirt poor, recently graduated, struggling, working artists. The group has since disbanded yet she looks back on these days fondly as one of her most creative periods in her life, and when she felt clearly a sense of purpose and a reason for making art. She has continued to practice art since then yet has carried a feeling that she has been on a kind of hiatus ever since her collaboration with the group ended. Furthermore, even though she continues to define and consider herself an artist, she admits a sense of disillusion towards her career path; there is so much pressure to achieve success, and this profession is all consuming, not allowing one to pursue other interests and desires.

Combined with these feelings was a belief that she should be fixing up her family's run-down farm that has been neglected for years; the same one where she taught herself to paint and where her creativity was nurtured. During her residency at RFAOH, Georgia will spend time raising funds and repairing this farmhouse, preserving a heritage site that just so happens to be her childhood home. She hopes that her on-hiatus project will allow her to leave behind her disillusionment and find a path of purpose again, with a little push and motivation from RFAOH.

Final Report




recent comments

Briefly- AA Report- Day 68

Briefly, this is a photo of a letter I wrote in June. I wrote the letter so that I could participate in a meaningful way in a 10 year anniversary for an art gallery, not as an artist but as an individual who once exhibited there. I wanted to participate in a meaningful way but also in a way where I wasn’t breaking the framework of the residency. Perhaps pushing the boundaries a little bit, the letter indicates that it is not an artwork: 

“Please don’t confuse this for an artwork. This is not an artwork, just a letter. (…) “Because the framework of my residency stipulates that for 6 months I not make or present art I couldn’t formally submit an artwork to exhibit so I wrote this letter.” 

I was nervous about contributing something this way, the residency parameters still had me confused so I thought I should get permission.  After discussing my predicament wtih the co-directors I decided to go ahead with the idea and I emailed my letter to the gallery. I believe when I emailed the co-directors about this my mind was already made up but I still wanted to talk it through. My initial contact at the gallery didn’t think it would work because it wasn’t an artwork, however the hanging committee decided to hang it! I got to participate as a non-artist, presenting myself as an artist on hiatus. I confused a few people at the opening who wondered where my artwork was. 

The reactions of people when I tell them the nature of this residency is always interesting,  an extreme type of Lent I’ve heard. A few have taken great offense, equating it to becoming a nun (not a pleasant thought for some), while others compare it to a spiritual awakening, a tapas. Tapas? The word tapas was new to me, I didn’t know it as anything other than the Spanish cuisine! However, it was explained to me as a yoga term. It is a self-discipline technique and a  quick search on Wikipedia lead me to the Sanskrit, meaning “deep meditation, effort to achieve self-realization, sometimes involving solitude, hermitism or asceticism (…)  “the fire that burns within.” 


For now I’ll leave it at that. 


(Briefly- A(rt)A(nonymous) Report- Day 68) 


               The letter Blink Gallery decided to hang, the letter indicates it is not an artwork 


Leave a Comment (7)

Georgia wrote on Jul 9:

Thank you Heather!
I would be thrilled to show this letter next to your pizza pan! Fingers crossed for everyone!

shinobu wrote on Jul 9:

Heather, we've been proposing a "presentation" of our residents' activities since the beginning to hundreds of "institutions". We know people who work for them are all secretly our fans (; but of course, they cannot publicly endorse non-art! We'll keep at it though!

heather wrote on Jul 9:

I LOVE THIS! Shinobu & Matt, maybe there needs to be an exhibition of everything we didn't make this year! i'll send you my pizza pan if it can be next to this letter!

Georgia wrote on Jul 9:

Thank you Enrique!
Looking it's way out while I'm working my way in!

enrique wrote on Jul 8:

writing (and the difficult of writing), to do or not to do what is meant to appear as "something", and meditation of course, these is looking its way out... best wishes georgia !!

Georgia wrote on Jul 8:

I should clarify I haven't outright asked anyone if they are offended, but I got the sense.

shinobu wrote on Jul 8:

People's reactions are curious -- Lent? Offense? When artists themselves decide to be on hiatus and no one else, not even RFAOH is making them to be?! Is that once again, the "institution within oneself" that makes one feel this and that? Interesting...