London-based illustrative painter Alice Tye has a new exhibition opening today (28 February) which will take those wondering into Mother’s Redchurch Street offices straight into her vision of Japan. Collating Alice’s paintings of a personal trip to Japan, the pieces reflect its title, Mono No Aware, capturing “the idea of the awareness and appreciation of the impermanence of life and the idea that our appreciation of beauty can be heightened by our awareness of transiency,” the artist tells It’s Nice That.
Even in the very first planning stages of Alice’s trip, the artist knew a body of work would grow from it. Yet, even though a project was in the back of her mind, Alice made sure not to visit with “any preconceived ideas of what I would see, eat or hear,” she explains. Instead of filling her days with painting while she was there, Alice allowed herself to experience the trip as any other tourist would, but “tried to take in and document as much as I could so that I was able to come back and revisit it once I was back in London.”
Working in this way led Alice to create a body of work which reflects its title. Visiting Japan during “sakura”, otherwise known as its cherry blossom season, “it seemed as though the whole country was obsessed with everything ‘sakura’ and particularly the tradition of ‘hanami’, the welcoming of spring,” while travelling between Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. In turn, Alice’s paintings play with the passing of time in their colour palette, representing the dark evening lit by street signs, through to the shimmer of sun through a cherry blossom tree in the afternoon.
“My whole experience travelling around Japan,” Alice continues, “which admittedly only just scratched the surface of all of the places I could have visited in the country, was overwhelming and a huge culture shock in the best way possible.” In being such a shock it was the everyday details Alice picked up in particular, commenting on “the jingles at every train station, the ‘konbinis’ (convenience stores) on every corner and even in the middle of rural Japan, ‘sakura’ flavoured everything”. Mono No Aware as a series represents this feeling, considering Alice’s aim was “to capture at least some of that excitement and curiosity in the paintings I’ve made”.
Presenting the series in a gallery space also seems to be where this series of Alice’s is most at home considering their large scale. Even though we’re showing the works digitally, they’re still stop-and-stare worthy. But it’s in a gallery setting where Alice’s proficiency can shine through texture and details. “I would say these pieces lean more towards a painting practice than the usual illustrations I make, so an exhibition seemed like the most appropriate way for them to be seen,” adds the artist. “I thinking seeing the paintings in person always beats viewing them digitally.”
You can find out for yourself at Alice’s private view this evening or until 3 March at downstairs at Mother.
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