STEEL: art design architecture




Born 1964, Sydney, New South Wales

DIED 2018,Trentham, Victoria

Matthew Harding produced innovative art and design pieces, which utilised his unique sculptural sensibility and refined craftsmanship. Harding created large-scale public art, sculpture pieces and design objects, all reflective of his tenacity and hunger to push the boundaries.

Harding originally trained as a carpenter. However, on the day he completed his apprenticeship, he promptly left and enrolled at the Hunter Street School of Art and Design in Newcastle (now the Newcastle TAFE) to pursue a career as an artist. He originally focused on painting, not equating ‘art’ with the material skills he had left behind in carpentry. It didn’t take long for Harding to find his way into sculpture, with carving his technique of choice.

Harding went on to study Furniture Design at the Canberra School of Art in 1992. He described this experience as the pivotal moment where he was able to reconcile himself as both an artist and builder.

Taking inspiration from the shape of a seedpod, Seeds of Thought, 2015, continued Harding’s interest in binary relationships, including growth and decay, strength and fragility, nature and humanity. The sculptures were crafted from corten, which is a steel alloy that was originally developed for the building industry. Corten eliminates the need for painting, as a stable rust-like coating forms on the surface of the steel when exposed to weather conditions. As an artistic medium, the material embodies both manmade industry and the science of the natural world – a binary relationship central to the work of Harding.