Matthew Sudlow


    • Male
    • Sculptor


    About the artist


    Matthew's sculptures are castings in bronze. After roughly ten years of experimentation, he has perfected how to make some of the most elaborate lost-wax castings the world will ever see. Every detail has been rendered by his hand, and rather than adopting a stylized approach, Matthew finds it most interesting to make his bonsai trees as realistic as possible. He also completes his sculptures with a minimal number of castings, alleviating the dependency on fabrication. The sheer complexity of the work and his unwavering preference to preserve the techniques of traditional lost-wax casting, has made the task a daunting one. Matthew has found himself to be as much an enterprising inventor, experimentalist, and engineer as he had ever fancied himself an artist.

    Matthew finishes his sculptures with a combination of traditional patina and his own proprietary patina, and seals them with a durable lacquer. They are currently offered as limited editions of ten. Each sculpture is engraved on the underside with the title, the scientific species name, the series number and limit, year of the casting, and his potter's chop as his signature. All of the bonsai pots included in Matthew’s sculptures began as his handmade ceramic originals, and the engraving is conducted post-casting.

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    Artist Biography

    Matthew's fascination with the art of bonsai began when he was a child, after stumbling into a bonsai tree exhibit at the annual Philadelphia flower show in 1986. In his late twenties, he decided on a whim to move west from his home state of Pennsylvania to Utah and by coincidence, crossed paths with Ben Scolari, a Utahan who had practiced bonsai for over seventy years. Matthew was fortunate to be one of the last students instructed by this artist.

    Not long after, he discovered that he was more interested in the idea of sculpting a bonsai tree than growing and training one. However, he found that sculpting a one-off tree was not very satisfying and instead, became enthralled by the process of creating bronze sculpture and fascinated with the challenge of designing a mold for an object as complex as a tree. He knew that with a sufficient mold design, he could produce limited editions and he has always felt that a numbered series certifies control and consistency over the work.

    The lost-wax process requires that Matthew cast the entire tree sculpture in wax, before a second mold can be made and the sculpture is casted again in bronze. It is uncanny that frail wax can be used to complete this transition, considering the delicate features involved. The bronze casting is actually the easier part. All it requires is that he correctly control the temperature of the mold and the molten bronze, the velocity of the bronze relative to the thinnest features, mitigate gas entrapment by properly ventilating every termination point, dodge a half-dozen debilitating casting defects, and apply the correct amount of force to enable the bronze to reach every feature in roughly three seconds before freezing. It has taken Matthew roughly ten years of experimentation to learn how to create bronze bonsai trees. He knows they're worth it, and hopes they captivate you as they have him.