Alex Mathew was born in 1957 in Trivandrum, Kerala. He studied sculpture in the local fine arts college and won a national diploma in the subject in 1981. He followed this up with two years spent in Baroda’s M.S. University. His work during this period comprised mainly wooden figures, most of them carved in a manner suggesting the indissoluble and integral links of humans with the earth-world they come from. There are also hints at the spiritual as well as the erotic.
Mathew won a scholarship to the Hoch Schule fur Bildene Kunset, in West Germany, receiving an exposure to European artistic trends, expressionism among them. This seems to reflect in the harsher edges his figures seem to carry during this time. On his return to India, Mathew worked in several of India’s cities before joining the Faculty of Sculpture at M.S. University in 1994.
A rather striking feature of his later work seems to be the need to leave as much of the essence of the original material he uses. The tree trunks he carves his statements from retain their brooding, almost sinister, preoccupations; these ooze from the shaded areas of the figures and shapes that engirth them now. The viewer must necessarily see and feel.
Mathew has exhibited widely, in the major galleries in India, as well as in Geneva in 1987. He has also experimented with fibreglass, though he seems to prefer wood more than other material.