Jaakko Antti Mattila is a Finnish painter, born in Oulu, Finland in 1976. He studied and graduated from The Surrey Institute of Art & Design University College in 2001. Since then, his works have been exhibited in galleries and institutions as far and wide as Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy and France, as well as in various public spaces throughout the world. His work is held in various collections including Sara Hildén Art Museum and the State of Finland. 

Mattila’s works examine the axial conditions of light by using illusion and nature to form a liquid post-modern acid realist practice. At times, this manifests in constructive investigations through art into concepts such as infinity, smallness, greatness and time. He currently lives and works in Helsinki.

In his creations, Mattila uses various techniques including watercolor, oil paint and alkyd, in addition to printmaking, sculpture, collage and installation. The dimensions of his works also vary – from minute to monumental  – reinforcing the field of vision and perception within a visionary tradition of art. For years, Mattila has made extensive research on pigments and papers which he then uses to construct pointillist-inspired paintings that can have up to 150 layers. His print proofs will also be used in a collage directly on the walls of the room. In this manner, matter strives towards a new, harmonious form. While active and living and working abroad, Mattila maintains an interest in the eastern and western occultist traditions, particularly as they reinforce retinal experience into his own unique style of painting.

According to Mattila, his works neither depict anything, nor do they convey any particular message. They are not linked to any particular time or place, instead, they are often inspired by universal principles that take into account sacred architecture, shapes, geometry and science. The various patterns that often emerge from his works – spheres, cubes and spirals – can be considered fragments of universal blocks, the foundations of nature that move from micro to macro-cosmic. This gives his paintings a feeling of recession, and also the idea that they are able to open up to a landscape of infinite possibilities and rhizomatic becoming. 

The surface of his canvases move from gravity to light, the physical characteristics become similar to surface patterns of water droplets on a window plane. However, no matter how one interprets Mattila’s paintings, one thing is certain: the surface tension they create emerge from the periphery of harmony pattern detection and light, a study into the retinal possibilities of color, form and composition with an eye towards art in the visionary tradition. 


Dorian Batycka 

curator, art critic & writer (Frieze, Financial Times, Art Newspaper, Hyperallergic)