My body of work explores various global environmental issues, aiming to raise awareness.
Nature is full of curiosities. My body of work aims to shed light on the natural designs in the frequently unnoticed creatures that inhabit our everyday life using figurative art. Whether it is the local ducks, the species of insects or the interaction between creatures, my art pieces aim to share these hidden and intriguing peculiarities within nature. The main focus of my exhibition and later focus on insects is due to their prevalence in the world but also because they are hidden and overlooked. Especially in Paris, being a metropolitan city with little greenery, people may not pay attention to the interesting fragments of nature surrounding them.
My works consist of a mix of 3D but predominantly 2D paintings. The 3D works depict moths and butterflies, using paper wire construction and paper mache for the delicate, thin wings and keeping them to a relatively accurate scale. The scale itself is also an important feature experimented with within my works as several of the 2D pieces contrast the small size of insects in reality to the art pieces which enlarge them, for example, Min-min zemi. With the 3D piece Aglais io I experimented with kinetic art, inspired by James Chedburn’s kinetic wire sculptures, it mimics the fluttering wings of butterflies. For the paintings, I have drawn a lot of inspiration from artists such as René Lalique and his use of insects and natural forms, Levon Biss’s close-up photography of insects and Jan van Kessel and Adolphe Millot’s scientific depiction of a variety of insects and have pursued displaying interesting forms found in insects in a manner to exhibit their small size, strange form and consequent beauty. The subject matter is mostly based on my own photographs of insects. Most pieces involve species outside of their own natural habitat or in one with visible human impact to express a question about humanity’s relationship with nature and arts. I also drew inspiration from stylised painting techniques, especially from Paul Cézanne’s still life paintings using defined blocks of colour, direct marks and impasto coming from using a palette knife to juxtapose the delicate and unseen reality of insects with a bolder style. It aims to convey the unconventional magnificence of insects as they too are inelegant but beautiful.
When entering the exhibition, the audience would approach my works from the middle. My set-up is in a concertina formation like the underside of the letter ‘W’. The pieces are arranged by subject matter, style and chronological order. The first pieces on the leftmost board are my earliest pieces, a painting of both ducks in realism. The centre is where most of the pieces are, including the two 3D pieces of butterflies in front. The first painting in the centre is my boldest painting in terms of colour and is the first the viewers will see and understand about my body of work. Also as the intermediary example of my art style evolving from realism to a colour-blocked painting style. It is among the works depicting butterflies and is grouped together. Lastly, the second painting in the centre is a still life of cicadas as my style evolves and changes when using a palette knife accompanied by the last painting, depicting a large cicada, occupying the rightmost board on its own due to size and being the final piece.
The common tendency to be deterred by insects further deepens the elusiveness of their beauty in art and provokes thought about the subjectiveness of appreciation. Through the usage of features such as the thick painting style, interactivity and impasto, the pieces express the intriguing nature of creatures’ interactions and their forms. My intention is to allow the audience to notice detail and beauty in what is otherwise disregarded. The vision for presenting this body of work is to engage with the audience and invite them to notice the details of the species’ interactions within the environment in the gallery itself, the context within the piece and consequently in the real world. Ultimately, it aims to pose questions about the human relationship with nature and our selective appreciation but also humanity’s lack of respect or our negligence of the hidden curiosities of nature.
Eye-spotted (March 2021)
Wire, paper, acrylic, foam board
12 x 31 x 24 cm
I was inspired by butterflies and moths and their survival advantage of having eyespots that function as a warning to redirect it to the viewer by using human eyes instead. This was inspired by Adolphe Millot’s scientific depiction of a variety of species. Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) also hold great symbolic and cultural values across space and time so I found it fitting to base the piece around that to emphasise their importance and timelessness with their connection to humanity.
Crocodile Tears (June 2021)
Acrylic on canvas
70 x 50 cm
This piece depicts an act of lachryphagy (tear-drinking) from a butterfly called a Dryas Iulia which has the ability to agitate eyes into obtaining more tears. This piece was inspired by the expression “crocodile tears'' meaning that they are forced but in this case, it is true. It also subverts the power of a dominant predator like a crocodile being complacent to a fragile but unpalatable butterfly. This piece intends to express the strange side of nature.