Still Moving

Owen Normand
Fri 28 Jul 2023   -  Sun 24 Sep 2023

This exhibition continues Normand’s long-term interest in the still life genre as a space in which to explore themes of impermanence. Pulling on rich traditions from both Western and Eastern art history, including Vanitas still life painting and Japanese aesthetics, Normand gives the genre a makeover and shows it can be fresh and relevant in contemporary art.

Working mostly from his imagination, Normand experiments with technique and pushes his style into a new and distinct visual language. The paintings use translucent layers of acrylic paint and glazing medium to give them an insubstantial feel, with many passages being completed in one pass leaving little room for hesitation or correction. Normand wanted the works to convey the motions with which they were painted and encapsulate some of the immediacy of a Japanese ink painting.

Since the pandemic and the worsening climate crisis, the artist says he feels the unpredictability of life more keenly than ever. The making of these paintings serves as a reminder to him that awareness of transience is no cause for nihilistic despair, but rather a wake-up call to bring vitality and appreciation into the present moment.

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