art review







ppresent upcoming past    

Rui Matsunaga, Richard Moon and Mara sculpture

August 3 – August 25


Rui Matsunaga

Rui’s work is deeply rooted in nature and animism, today’s Anthropocene and our relationship with nature as we start to see nature as our equal rather than something we can exploit and control without consequence. Her small landscapes are mostly depicted in twilight in a suggestion of a mythical, archetypal and altered reality. The small creatures in the paintings can be seen as morphed projections of our human existence. Her work explores our fragile and sometimes treacherous relationship to nature in a subtle narrative poetic manner.

Rui’s ideas are strongly rooted in Japanese culture and the fear of transformation alongside a history of survival. The explosions of nuclear bombs in Japan influenced Japan’s relationship with light which becomes ambiguous, light being felt both as beneficial and toxic, even catastrophic. 

As a consequence, Japanese culture experienced a process of transmogrification (greatly altering, often with grotesque or humorous effect). This has greatly influenced popular culture producing Godzilla (giant salamander mutated by radiation), and manga such as Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira (humans who can morphogenetically transform into monstrous superhumans).


Richard Moon

In a world increasingly saturated with digital technology and photographic imagery, a nostalgia for antique photographs and traditional modes of figurative and representational painting might seem like an anachronism. Richard’s paintings address this nostalgia and express a longing for the ideals and aspirations of bygone eras (such as in the Romantic period, for example), whilst simultaneously acknowledging the fact that today such lofty idealism is seen as hopelessly naïve and outmoded. This is not meant as a critique of contemporary modes of creative thinking, but rather as a playful meandering between the contradictory aspirations that drive the artist’s creative output.

The Beckettian idea of failure is a driving force behind his practice. The use of clichés, humour, absurdist caricatures and doubt pervade any higher aspirations that inhabit the work. Simultaneously saying yes and no, Richard Moon’s work embodies a Sisyphean loop of repeated failure whilst stubbornly holding onto the Romantic inclinations that initially inspired the work.


Mara Sculpture

Zimbabwe means "house of stone" and its people are descended from an ancient culture of stone carving. In the ruins of the kingdom of Great Zimbabwe (AD 1200 to 1450) large, beautifully sculpted soapstone birds and anthropomorphic figures were found. After falling into decline this great tradition has revived over the past 60 years.
The symmetry, spirituality and simplicity of ancient African art have a powerful presence in Zimbabwean sculpture; themes that also influenced the 20th Century Modernists like Picasso and Matisse. The spirit world plays an important role in Zimbabwean society and is often a source of inspiration for the sculptors. Themes from daily life and traditional cultural are also common subjects, as are animals, both wild and domesticated. Every Zimbabwean has a family "totem": an animal that looks after them and must be protected in return.
Bernard Mavunga has been passionate about sculpture since childhood, when he used to watch his uncle Biggie Kapeta, one of Zimbabwe's finest sculptors, at work. Bernard set up Mara to increase exposure of this uniquely beautiful art form. Mara is the Shona name for the impala antelope, which is Bernard's family totem.