A WELSHPOOL-based artist currently has two major exhibitions on show at galleries in Mid and North Wales with 'A Sense of Place' on at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Machynlleth until September 22, while his work at the Ffin y Parc Gallery, Llanrwst, ends on September 12.

Matthew Wood’s Machynlleth show is the result of seven months in response to T.J. Hughes’s book of 'Wales’ Best 100 Churches' with particular references to Mid Wales.

“From the contrasting tones of the view toward the altar at St Michael’s, Cascob with fading December light, the strength of light and distance of a misty early spring view through a door from St Cynllo’s, Llanbister or the dusty dark box pews in St Cewydd’s, Disserth, these churches have provided me with a visual feast of material,” said Matthew.

“The location of a building affects its atmosphere and sense of place and the churches mentioned in this publication certainly provide ample inspiration. Something that I find particularly exciting is the opportunity to visually explore a historic building and the churches of Mid Wales are certainly full of exciting surprises.

“Each building has its own story and atmosphere, something which I have tried to capture through paint on board. Approaching these buildings through a purely visual perspective I would spend large amounts of time painting and purely observing the way light through a door or window reflects off ancient oak and pine or a glimpse of a candlestick, plate, Bible or collection plate that seem to be left in just the right position.

“Once a week over seven months I would follow the guide of T.J. Hughes, attempting to produce each painting in one sitting allowing a more direct approach where I would aim to capture an atmosphere and sense of place brought about through the process of direct observation. The more visits I made the more familiar I became with the history and presence of the church in the Welsh landscape, as the visits transpired I would arrive with stronger feelings of anticipation of what would be behind the door or through a window. I would always respond to light and the way it travels in and around the structure of the building and its contents be it a dull January day or a bright June day this could be the way reflected light from the terracotta walls at St Mark’s, Brithdir permeates the palette providing a contrast to the winter light beyond or perhaps the warmth in a reflection of distant corn fields on a collection box at Maesyronnen Chapel,” said Matthew.

For his North Wales show, Mathew has produced almost 90 paintings, his biggest collection to date, with a mixture of landscapes and interiors.

Matthew was born in 1973, trained at Middlesex, Birmingham and The School of Art University of Wales, and is married with two children.

“I am best known for my interior and landscape paintings which have a predominantly Welsh theme. Each piece is unique and usually produced on location in one sitting,” said Matthew.