Sophia Coppola's (2004) film Lost in Translation depicted the alienation felt when living in another country and the themes of loneliness, solitude and homesickness that can arise. It is these themes that artist Sumiko Seki addresses in her solo show The Fair and the Thorns opening at the Gone Tomorrow Gallery Saturday 3rd November 2007.
In this exhibition the roles have been reversed, Seki, an artist from Japan, lives and works in London. Her work investigates the issues facing a Japanese national living in one of the most ethnically diverse and bustling cities in the world. Seki has entitled this series The Fair and the Thorns, as there is a blend of beauty and danger within her exploration of these differing cultures.
Her homesickness can be felt in her paintings that carefully blend motifs based upon her childhood in Japan ' and her family's religious background as Buddhists. Works such as Wooden Horse show decapitated dolls reminiscent of childhood drawings. Other watercolours such as Goninbayashi illustrate Japanese traditional dolls again arranged in a childlike composition.
Seki's work often portrays a lone female set within a dreamlike landscape. The situation is unclear for the protagonist, with uneasy scenarios and hint of danger depicted. In her painting Nagashi-bina Seki paints her loan female emerged in water and surrounded by dream-like boats, creating comparisons with Guliver's Travels or sinister fairy tales.
Seki is perhaps more for known for her flower paintings, which blend Western canons of still life and landscape with Japanese imagery. In this new series of work, Seki continues these themes within a figurative narrative.
This exhibition will be the first solo show of Seki's figurative works, and marks the commitment that the Gone Tomorrow Gallery makes to exhibit new and emerging artists.