A year after group show ‘Rebirth’ celebrated the arrival of spring and emergence from 2 years of lockdowns during the pandemic, Lee Sharrock is curating ‘Natural Abstractions’ at 99 Projects in West London.
“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.” John Berger ‘Ways of Seeing’ (1972)
Featuring Noj Barker, Miranda Donovan, Jemima Murphy, Rajan Seth and Sky Sharrock, ’Natural Abstractions’ explores the relationship between abstract art and natural phenomena. Each artist is inspired by nature, be it in the form of skies, sea, clouds, flowers or foliage.
Miranda Donovan creates urban-scapes where nature has attempted to permeate the concrete elements of the city. Donovan creates worlds wherein polarities and differences co-exist through subject matter and materials used. The intention is for these polarities to be analogous of the differences in the wider world whilst simultaneously inferring the complexity of emotions that speak of what it is to be human. Order and chaos, man and nature, beauty, and decay, the urban and the rural, angst and calm, love, belief and fear are some of the polarities Donovan features in her work as she strives to create worlds wherein these differences not only co-exist but do so harmoniously. To this end her work is one of hope but as Donovan would argue “without hope what is the point.
Noj Barker breaks down natural forms into molecular cells, by covering his canvases with thousands of tiny dots using a palette inspired by the colours found in nature. Barker's distinctive style of painting is a reflection of the patterns and structures found in the natural world. His intricate arrangements of dots resemble the complexity and beauty of the tiny details observed through a microscope or in microorganisms. The layering and coalescing of dots into larger compositions evoke the interconnectedness and harmony of natural elements, capturing their essence in a visually stunning abstract manner.
Jemima Murphy’s visceral canvases ‘Mimetic Jungle’ and ‘Tumble’ veer between representational and abstract, evoking exotic jungle foliage or wild flowers with a nod to ‘les fauves’ (‘the wild beasts’) of the early 20th Century, who spurned the Fauvist art movement with their use of bold, non-naturalistic colours.
Rajan Seth’s mixed media paintings seem to effortlessly capture natural elements with an abstract technique which is rooted in familiar yet other-worldly forms resembling water, fire, air and earth.
Sky Sharrock’s interest in cyanotype printing stems from a background in film as a cameraman, and the cyanotype print he has created for ‘Natural Abstractions’ is an ethereal yet cinematic image of an angelic form emerging from the clouds.
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