Matt Rugg was born in Bridgwater, Somerset but has spent most of his working life in London. He began originally studied painting, however the teaching he received at Newcastle University under Victor Pasmore led him to investigate carving, relief work and sculpture. Rugg was a contemporary of Richard Hamilton at Newcastle, and took on a teaching post from 1962 to 1964, eventually leaving to move to London. In 1965 he took a position in the sculpture department of Chelsea college of art - an institution he remained connected to for many years.
Rugg exhibited widely during the 60s, including with the Young Contemporaries and with the London Group. He was included in the exhibition Sculpture Today and Tomorrow at the Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford and at the survey exhibition 26 Sculptors at the ICA in London. It was during this period that he enjoyed a long associated with the New Art Centre where he held many solo exhibitions. Although still on very friendly terms, his close working association with that gallery ended when they relocated from Sloane Square in London to Roche Court. Since then he has rarely shown in commercial galleries and actively shunned most public exhibitions.
Despite his extremely low profile, Rugg is highly regarded as an artist and a teacher. Richard Deacon, recently awarded a solo exhibition at Tate Britain, was one of the many artists who passed through his department at Chelsea. Rugg's work can also be found in the Tate's collection, and further examples at in the Arts Council and Leeds City Art Gallery.
Rugg's sculptural pieces and works on paper (he stopped painting in the early 60s) are inextricably linked and the product of an endlessly enquiring mind. Often working in loose series, the drawings and sculpture inform each other. Patterns which appear on paper are occasionally formed by stencil techniques using materials later employed in the sculptures. Similarly the forms of the sculptures are echoed in the drawings, which are invariably highly worked in a variety of media. Rugg's works stands alone and cannot easily be compared to other artists.