Melting Buttress, 2023

Sydney Yellow Block Sandstone



I have always deeply appreciated a sculpture that flips the fundamental characteristics of a material and makes it the opposite. With this carving, I’m aiming to make the stone look and feel more fluid and softer, which is the opposite of a stone’s characteristics as one of the most hard and durable materials.

I am a stonemason at Rookwood General Cemetery and have a Masters of Heritage Conservation from Sydney University focusing on material conservation theory and techniques. Some of my notable works include the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Hyde Park Barracks, St Matthews Anglican Church and Cemeteries.

About the Artist


Matthew Johnson lives on Dharug Land in western Sydney, NSW.




Hi, my name is Matthew and I have created a melting buttress. The thought process behind how I came up with the idea for this is that I've always really appreciated when people have created objects and flipped their inherent qualities. In this circumstance, we have the buttress which is designed to be the pillar of strength is to hold up the outside of the church, when the walls wanted to open outwards due to taller roof pitches, the flying buttress was invented to stabilise that, but it was also an element beauty in Gothic architecture. Likewise, the inherent characteristics of stone are robust, strong, it's a symbol of durability and strength. So my thinking here is that I'm going to take an object designed to strengthen something from a material that's known to be strong and durable and flip that. The buttress would be obscured and tilted and on an angle, and the stone would transition from its hard, robust, strong state into this fluid, soft element that's dripping from the pedestal that it's displayed on.