Tansei: notes

tansei_calligraphy

The Japanese word “tansei” translates into English as “work”, but with connotations of doing something with “sincerity, exertion, effort, assiduity and diligence.”

In 2015 I spent time in a Japanese rural village where indigo is grown and used for dyeing, hoping to extend my knowledge of Japanese fabric arts including boro (patching and mending of cloth over many decades) and sashiko (decorative top stitching).

Since then the colour indigo has formed the space into which I usually paint. It is the colour of midnight, of deep space or deep water; of infinity, of perfect peace and absolute stasis; the darkness into which the introduction of light comes as a dramatic and moving possibility.

This exhibition brings together several of my ongoing preoccupations. One is cultural inheritance – the ways in which ancestral attitudes and beliefs are reflected in our contemporary context. Another, rooted in my early education in sciences, is my continuing interest in biological forms and physical principles. Yet another is my fascination with art forms that have arisen in cultures other than my own.

These works have allowed me the time and space within which to contemplate factors that have shaped my life, and all our lives; and I consider that a great privilege.

The paintings are on show at Handmark gallery in Hobart from 13 Jan – 6 Feb 2017. My grateful thanks to Allanah Dopson and her splendid team at Handmark; to Miho Leitch of Ebisu Design in Melbourne for her beautiful calligraphy; and, as always, to my family and friends for their love and support as this work was coming together.

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