This work, entitled “After the Hanami”, comprises more than 1000 individual cut and hand-painted watercolour flowers attached to a board that is covered with Japanese “washi” paper and painted with gouache. The design shows the flowers falling from top to bottom creating a thick layer of flowers at the bottom. The flowers are very colourful and variously shaped and individualised. There is a suggestion of reflections on water. The work sits somewhere between painting and sculpture in that each of the flowers is a separate physical work in three dimensions.
“After the Hanami” is a visual poem inspired by the Japanese spring-time custom of participating in hanami (or cherry blossom flower viewing) parties. These parties or picnics are often excuses for drinking and enjoying the company of friends and the creation of possible romantic entanglements. Because cherry blossoms (sakura) only flower for about 2 weeks each year, Hanami parties are associated with remembering fondly the short-lived flush of youth and the inevitability of change. My connection with the hanami party tradition is personal as I lived in Japan for 7 years working as an international lawyer and participated in numerous hanami parties with friends and with my wife who I met in Japan.
My purpose in creating this work was to capture the relationship we have with memory and remembered events. As I age, my memories of youth become blurred and yet life goes on. The individual flowers can be viewed as symbolic references to unique individuals that, as humans, are all subject to the same pressures of transience, evanescence and the inconstancy of conditioned existence.
This work relates to my wider artistic practice by exploring non-traditional forms of visual representation (in that the work is not either just a painting or just a sculpture) and by utilising part / whole relationships formed by arranging “particles” or elements into gestalts.