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Paper Thin Painting

Owen Normand

United Kingdom

Painting, Oil on Canvas

Size: 11.8 W x 15.7 H x 1.6 D in

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Featured in One to Watch

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Featured in Rising Stars

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Featured in the Catalog

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About The Artwork

This painting is from the 'Cloud of Arrows' series. My work always revolves around themes of impermanence and I am interested in how different cultures look at the inevitability of change: in ancient Greece there was an understanding of life’s fragility and unpredictability expressed in their tragedies; in Mexico there is The Day of the Dead; and in many Eastern cultures, like Japanese Buddhism, there is a reverence for the fleeting nature of life. The Japanese term Mono No Aware, which speaks of the bittersweet feeling of being both saddened and appreciative of witnessing life’s transience, is central to the mood of my work. It seems to me that in the West today we suffer from a reluctance to talk openly about death and uncertainty and we hold tightly to an illusion of stability and safety. I have long had an interest in art and Literature that explores themes of life’s precariousness such as WH Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Tove Janssen, Vanitas and Momento Mori still life paintings and Goya’s Black Paintings and Disasters of War prints. Although this work can be dark, there is also a positive idea running through it: the idea that by being more aware of our own mortality we may be less likely to take our current situation for granted and more inclined to rearrange our priorities in life to place what is truly dear to us at the fore. When I was a boy, I heard it was bad luck if you spilled salt and to cancel this bad luck you should throw a pinch of salt over your left shoulder into the face of the devil/death who always lurks there. I never took this literally but for me this superstition is a healthy reminder of my own end and it helps me to put things in my life in perspective and order of importance. This series of work was mostly completed before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold but the situation has brought a lot of these ideas into focus for me. The title of this series is taken from a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that I found particularly fitting: “Work and learn in evil days, in barren days, in days of debt and depression and calamity. Fight best in the shade of the cloud of arrows.” The painting is on a nice 4cm deep canvas which looks great hung directly on the wall or framed. It is signed and dated on the reverse.

Details & Dimensions

Painting:Oil on Canvas

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:11.8 W x 15.7 H x 1.6 D in

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Owen is a Scottish contemporary painter who was winner of the prestigious BP Portrait Young Artist Award in 2013. Owen's style can be described as expressive realism, where both observation and creativity play key roles. He paints figurative work and still life; the key focus of his work is to explore an awareness of impermanence and an empathy towards the inevitable passing of all things. Owen has had solo exhibitions in Berlin and Lisbon, and has exhibited in group shows in London, New York, Berlin, Edinburgh and Glasgow. His work is held in private collections in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, USA, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.

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