Andrea Matta Schaal

Outgrowth and Grown-away
40″x30″; acrylic and photo on canvas; 2016

Andrea Matta Schaal
Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada


From that shadowy side of civilization, my new series, “Of Earth Folds and Excavations”, explores the possibilities in dismantling and reweaving the fragments of the (un)natural world left behind.

Unearthed and disturbed, they awaken. From forgotten wild spaces, from ruins, the rust, cogs and wastes of landfills, to the bones of middens and burial grounds, where the land is no longer recognizable,we find my surrealist collage/paintings.

My photographs are the images I use. As an artist, I read the photographs as metaphors and I cut meaning into them. My work takes shape through collage. I rearrange and re-contextualize them and by doing so, through this de-generative process, I find regenerative meaning. Always, I find a story emerges.

The act of cutting away, re-aligning parts, surprises in the most hopeful of ways. The process of excision brings something strong to the surface. Protean images: contorted forms; twisted, locked in struggle (or is it desire?) Their innards, their life becomes the heart of the matter, in every sense. Seduced by our plugged-in society, wired to electrical outlets, alienated from the land, yet the land still speaks.

This is an important idea behind my work, how the generative act itself carries an intention. We can call upon the unifying, diversifying, protean qualities to strengthen us. I’m excited by the multitude of boundless variation. (It reminds me of the ant-fragility of the hydra.)

It’s that interplay I like, and it’s that unending oscillation that energizes my art. Through connection–ropes, braid–we are nurtured from seed and root into blossoming and patterns of regeneration. I continue to build this series.


Andrea Matta Schaal (AKA A. S. Matta) is a visual artist and cultural worker currently residing on a small inner island off the west coast of Canada (Pentlatch/K’omox territory). After traveling extensively throughout the world and having lived in various places along the way, she settled long enough to take a tattoo apprenticeship and to hone her skills at the Victoria College of Art. She found focus in the mixed media vein, freely experimenting with collage, photography, assemblage and painting with a special affinity towards pen and ink illustration. She’s illustrated with the international Beehive Design collective, she’s an active member of the Inner Island Surrealist group, and has published and shown many works. Loving to engage with youth and community, she has partnered with the Comox Valley Art Gallery (CVAG) to create murals with children, and runs regular art-based programming for youth. Her work often explores themes of land, colonization, occupation, displacement as well as the transformative powers of unity, rebellion and the natural world. She is dedicated to creating art that challenges the underlying foundations that drive injustice in our daily lives.


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The Reach
40″x30″; acrylic and photo on canvas; 2016

Open Wide, Big Heart
20″x16″; acrylic and photo on canvas; 2016

The Offering Creature
20″x16″; acrylic and photo on canvas; 2016

The Greeting
20″x16″; acrylic and photo on canvas; 2016