'Mono no Aware'

 

A collection of 12 paintings created especially for an exhibition at the RWA, Bristol, titled, 'Air: Visualising the Invisible in British Art, 1768-2017'  The major exhibition of historic and contemporary art traced the tradition in British art of finding inspiration in the air around us and skies above us. Air explores how our interest in air and the sky has affected the work of British artists stretching across four centuries, encompassing representations of breath, the effects of the wind, and flying creatures (both real and imaginary).

12 paintings, oil and resin on board (sizes range between 10x10cm and 30x30cm) 2017

 

‘Mono no aware’ is a Japanese term that has no direct English translation, but it can be used to describe an ‘empathy towards impermanence’.  

The re-occurring image of the cloud in my work is a meaningful signifier of an ongoing interest in an aesthetic sensitivity towards the ephemeral. We can sometimes be fortunate enough to witness the sight of a perfectly placed cloud, suspended in the sky, only to look back and find that the vapours have dissolved into nothingness. Just as the blossom falls to the ground, and the snow melts, the quiet allure of the cloud can heighten our awareness of fragility. With this melancholic sensibility, also comes an appreciation of witnessing such a fleeting, temporal occurrence.  

The layering of resin and oil paint is used in an attempt to solidify something transient and without mass – encasing it in the surface. In striving to encase the painted cloud in such a literal manner, it draws attention to the impossibility of doing so in reality. In reality, the clouds themselves will perish, but it is the residue and memory of such impermanence that is important. It is our empathic response that endures.

 

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