From her earliest years she painted on whatever canvases were available. She painted seasonal murals and window displays for local businesses. She continued to study and refine her abilities during high school. As a young adult she toured the country as a model, and went on to create a name for herself in the fitness industry. For 30 years she worked with clients as diverse as academic, and medical leaders of the community. She starred in her own public access fitness show, and was a pioneer in the field of health and fitness. Always involved in charitable causes, she led multiple running events for various charities and organizations, including the survivors of the 9/11 attack on the world trade center. Even at the peak of her career in fitness, Mati always maintained a deep connection to her art, designing children’s and adult garments as well as stage wear for major rock and roll performers. She continued to paint privately commissioned works during this time, including murals. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2007, Mati put her entire focus on establishing her ability as an abstract artist, creating new works in a variety of styles which represent a culmination of her life’s work as a life-loving artist, holistic fitness professional, and humanitarian. Her work can be seen here, and in studios in and around the greater Los Angeles area.
The art here is a amalgamation of work and life over recent years. The work itself reflects inspiration and innovation from an enthusiastic attitude I walk with through my life. The work utilizes a process both intellectual and technical moving from literal representation toward abstraction. Usually texture serves as the foundation for a painting or series. Within this foundation I begin to feel a focal point from which abstracted image and form emerges. The paintings are created slowly, built up over weeks texture upon texture, evolving into multi-colored, multi-layered and multi-dimensional works. The texture begins with the feelings I am experiencing at that moment. Then I fill the canvas with color implied by my emotions. I apply the paint with brushes, sticks, cloth or my hands, painting, sanding, scratching, scraping splattering and spraying until the painting is born. I enjoy the process of building the work as much as the finished work itself. I love as new textures and layers evolve, adding, taking away and adding all over again. Some of the work utilizes different media such as nuts and bolts, steel and glass, thread and wire . . . . . anything that grabs my attention can find its own intention in my art. It seems to me the work, the art and myself are building an intimate relationship, reaching deeper and discovering more about ourselves as the work progresses. And in the end the work finds a new beginning through it's creation and through the experience the viewer takes from it, again and again and again . . .
From her Recent Series "Guns In America":
September 11, 2001 was a day which changed the lives of everyone in America-everyone in the world. Living in close proximity to Manhattan on that terrible day it had a profound and life changing affect on my personal life. My daughter in law was working in the city that day and my son, her husband, was working in Brooklyn. Before the towers fell I called my sons to discover that my eldest son was crossing over the Brooklyn bridge against the tide of humanity fleeing the city to look for his wife who was working adjacent to the towers. They both made it through the experience physically unharmed, but I was terrified knowing my son was rushing into harms way.
In my own business I had many friends and clients who lost close personal friends and loved ones. I watched them go down to ground zero day after day looking for some sign, some closure to their terrible loss.
Living in Staten Island I saw the garbage trucks roll through our streets, taking the debris from the fallen towers to our dumps. It was a daily reminder of the horrible act which had been perpetrated against our city and our country. For weeks after September 11 the skies were blackened with the thick black smoke rising from ground zero, but our lives were effected for much longer then that in so many ways. It was not only the terrible loss of life and its ensuing pain. Lives were affected in so many other ways.
People stopped taking certain subways and trains, and many of the businesses which depended on that traffic for their survival were forced to close, creating greater financial hardship at a time of terrible hardships. Despite New Yorkers rallying together to rise above these atrocities, certain ethnic groups were targeted and suffered retribution for an act which they not only had nothing to do with but in no way condoned. Among the most terrifying events of that horrible day was watching our beloved fire department, police department, our first responders who bravely rallied to rescue the doomed perish as the towers collapsed while they selflessly and heroically tried to rescue those trapped in the blazing towers. I held several events to benefit the survivors of this tragedy. I organized and participated in many runs designed to benefit those who had lost and suffered the most. I watched the children of mothers who went daily to ground zero in hope of any sign or news of their lost husbands.
When I moved to Los Angeles I carried the memory and the pain from that day and the subsequent months that followed with of me. I lived my life and tried not to let it cloud my joy, but it remained inside me like a hidden scar that you try not to notice but are somehow always aware of.
After seven years I felt compelled to create work to commemorate the memory of the fallen, as well as work which called to attention the flaws in the thoughts and the actions of our country’s leadership.
Making these works has been emotionally draining for me. I was driven by the rash of killings and insanity of current events to create art whose objective was not to please the eye as much as cause the mind to think.
TOWNLEY GALLERY, Laguna Beach CA, Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art, Laguna Beach, CA 2013. Russo has shown in numerous galleries in New York and Los Angeles.