In the context of the market-driven art world we have all come to know and love, such persistent nonparticipation appears downright pathological. And yet it doesn't seem to have inhibited or impaired Matter's will to create. In fact, it appears to have nurtured her independence from prevailing fashions — her stubborn adherence to unironic representation (however tenuous) and her insistence on the primacy of drawing would have scuttled her currency throughout most of the late 20th century. Instead, they became the foundation of her philosophy of art, and the curricular emphasis of the Studio School. At a point in time when the role and structure of art education are once again the center of growing public debate, her emphasis on sustained physical work to train the visual and kinesthetic senses is a welcome corollary to the prevailing discourse on "cross-disciplinary research models" and the slide-library genocide.
Ultimately, though, this overdue surprise is testimony to the irrepressibility of the hardwired human need to create visual art, and to the irrelevance of the critical and market establishments to the creative spirit's ability to survive and flourish. Matter was able to produce a body of work equal to and surpassing many of her better known peers, outside the hydroponic glare of celebrity, nurtured by the collegial support of her community and her sense of place in art history conceived as a continually shifting geometry of influence; the artist as perpetual student and, if the fates demand it, occasional teacher. It's the work that matters.