Richard was born in Featherston, New Zealand in 1957, and moved to Taranaki in 1962. Here he attended New Plymouth Boys’ High School from 1971 - 75 and was taught art by Tom Kreisler.
From 1980-85 Mathieson studied sculpture at the Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University with his tutors including Greer Twiss and Christine Hellyar. From 1986 for 5 years he was the director of Star Art Gallery, Karangahape Road, Auckland while in 1989 he received a QEll Arts Council Grant for his first solo exhibition. In 1999 he joined the New Zealand Medallion Group becoming the convener 2001-2007. In 2006 he was the Artist Co-ordinator for the inaugural Sculpture in the Gardens at the Auckland Botanic Gardens and has played an ongoing role in these exhibitions.
Mathieson has exhibited widely in New Zealand dealer and public galleries and has undertaken commissions for public spaces in Auckland, including Auckland Botanic Gardens and Orewa College, while his work has also been shown in Europe and the USA.
In 2013 Mathieson was part of a collective of 22 artists who staged a free sculpture exhibition, Summer of Sculpture, in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter. The artist-initiated project, driven by the Outdoor Sculpture 2001 Incorporated Society, was designed and curated especially for the unique landscape of Wynyard Quarter.
As well as making sculpture Richard operates Install Art - an art and object installation business and curates sculpture exhibitions.
Richard and his family now live in South Auckland.