Zoe Matthiessen is a self-taught artist, awarded by the Society of Illustrators and American Illustration. She has contributed regularly to The American Bystander, The Nation, Alta Journal and Art New England Magazine, and has recently produced an environmental children’s book, The Last Straw.
Deeply frustrated by the impact of corporate and political chaos upon our environment and society, Zoe dips her pen addressing topics that impact us all such as plastic pollution, environmental deregulation, corporate greed, deforestation and corrupt politicians. For enjoyment and escape from all of that, she turns to nature and to animals for subject material.
Recent exhibitions include “Seeing Nature Through Art” at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History (Oct-26 2019-June 30 2020), a solo show at The New Haven Lawn Club (April 30-June 30 2019), Endicott College (Oct 2018-Jan 2019) and inclusion in the "Art As Witness: Political Graphics" exhibit at SVA Chelsea Gallery, in NYC.
ARTICLES / REVIEWS
A CLOSER LOOK: The Art of Zoe Matthiessen
“The first thing you notice about Zoe Matthiessen’s art is the painstaking details she puts into her work. Her pieces invite you to look deeply, revealing the subtle beauty of nature, as in the gnarled branches of an ancient tree in New Haven’s East Rock Park, or the reflections on the surface of a tidal marsh. Other works are more satirical, exposing the devastating impacts of single-use plastic on birds and other wildlife, for example. Zoe approaches her subjects with both a playfulness and a sense of urgency, reflecting for the viewer what is often unseen in the world.”
~Timothy Brown, CT Woodlands Magazine
Winter, 2022 Issue
Winter, 2022 Issue
Eco Advocate Makes Her Storybook Debut
“I’m Sippy, I guess,” she said in a recent Zoom call from her home in Wooster Square. “I’m the one observing the horrible situation with plastics in the environment, and its impact on everything out there. It’s bad out there. The book is based on research and photo evidence. It’s not over the top. And I just wanted to find a way to present it to a wider audience. A younger audience.”
~Lucy Gellman, Arts Council
March 3rd, 2021
March 3rd, 2021
Environmental Art Comes To Wooster Street
“In one of Zoe Matthiessen’s ink drawings, a bird feeds its young an insect, an unvarnished look at the beauty of natural forms and the casual predation that animals do. In another full-color illustration in the same frame, Matthiessen depicts a more disturbing image, of a bird hung from a tree branch, strangled by a twisted set of six-pack rings.
One form of death is part of nature; another is a crime against it. And if you look more closely, the crime continues. There’s trash woven into the nest in the first image. And the butterfly may be a plastic fake.”
~Brian Slattery, New Haven Independent
Sep 2, 2020
Sep 2, 2020
Art New England Cover + Article
10 Emerging New England Artists: A Jury of Six Selects an Extraordinary 10
Art As Witness, SVA Gallery, NYC
Art As Witness: Celebrating the best post-Trump political cartoons
CWOS Takes A Deep Breath, And Kicks Off
“These works were presented alongside healthy doses of comedy. Zoe Matthiessen’s work features a screen capture of Space Invaders inside President Donald Trump’s head, facing out of a black background. The piece centers around an absurd psychology of power, pointing out that the president sees enemies everywhere. There is no player present in the window into the president's mind, underscoring a sense of impotence despite the desire to attack.”
~NJ Ollsten | October 8th, 2018
Illustrator Zoe Matthiessen looks at the harm humans do to the environment
“Our ideas of the apocalypse usually include a fiery blast, or some dramatic, spectacular conclusion that cataclysmically brings everything to an end.
Maybe it’s just a pile of plastic.”
~Keith Powers / MetroWest Daily News
Zoe Matthiessen is an artist with a conscience
“I first became aware of her work in the summer of 2017 when she started posting what has turned into a series of remarkable illustrations for both her "Ecocide" series and "Picture This" series for New Haven Independent. In "Ecocide" her beautiful line work and watercolor style are striking counterparts to the sometimes difficult-to-see subject matter. In "Picture This", her beautiful style and playful interaction with the reader invites them to locate the places depicted and win a print of her drawing.”
Artists Take On Global Warming In 'One Planet, One Home'
“Zoe Matthiessen takes a humorous approach. Her watercolor depicts a chicken with a trail mix bag stuck on its head, a depiction of "good intentions that have fallen short," she said. Those good intentions are spelled out on the snack bag — organic, vegan, gluten free, all natural — but those attributes don't stop the bag from trapping and blinding the chicken.”