Rodney Matthews exhibition opens in Wells

An exhibition of work by artist Rodney Matthews has opened at Bishop’s Palace in Wells, Somerset. The exhibition, which is entitled ‘Ionawr’ and is the first public showing of Matthews’ work since 2009, runs until February 24. Matthews will be in attendance until this weekend, and will give a talk about his life and career and sign items at 1:30pm on Saturday 16.

Matthews has illustrated covers for the likes of Diamond Head, Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, Praying Mantis and Asia, but is probably most well-known for his collaborations with Magnum. His cover for their latest album, Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies, due for release on Feb 26th, is on show at the exhibition.

Both Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin from Magum were present at the launch. “I really like it [the new cover],” says Clarkin. “It took him a long time to do, I know that. He passed the delivery date and I was like ‘Come on Rodney!’, and then when I saw it, of course, I thought it was just great.”

Alongside pictures based on Tolkien and Alice In Wonderland, one of Matthews’ personal favourite pictures, Heavy Metal Hero, is being displayed. Used as the cover for Diamond Head’s Am I Evil compilation album, it was inspired by his father’s model of the Flying Scotsman. “I just thought I’d make it bigger and uglier,” says Matthews. “I’m still trying to do my masterpiece. I’m 70 now but I don’t want to put down my paintbrush yet.”

Matthews has a musical history of his own. As a drummer his bands have played support gigs with Cream, Derek & the Dominoes, Slade, Gary Moore’s’ Skid Row, Deep Purple and Wishbone Ash. He also played at the first Glastonbury Festival.

For more information about the exhibition, visit the Bishop’s Palace website.