Sunday, 20 July 2014

The July Show at the Elaine Fleck Gallery Featuring Painter Sumi Zushi

"I find peace in nature and a purpose in painting.  I am dedicated to exploring the qualities of landscapes in oil. I am inspired by nature, by the complexity of light, colour and pattern that it creates, and I strive to capture these ephemeral qualities in my work. It is these colour patterns, the rhythm of light and shadow and the glowing afternoon sunlight that I translate. I express with intensity, the immediacy of my experience within the landscape. My brushwork can be aggressive, stemming from a physical reaction to the setting in which I am working. I am inspired by different environments to experiment with different painting techniques and this challenges me as an artist." Sumi Zushi

Sumi has just returned from Japan with Eight New Paintings painted during the country's iconic Sakura (cherry blossom) season. Sumi's work evokes the masterful french impressionist Monet, yet with a fresh contemporary edge that is unmistakable. 
"Hanami" (flower viewing) is the centuries-old practice of picnicking under a blooming sakura (Cherry Blossom) or ume (plum blossom) tree. The custom is said to have started during the Nara Period (710–794) when it was ume blossoms that people admired in the beginning. But by the Heian Period (794–1185), cherry blossoms came to attract more attention and hanami was synonymous with sakura. The custom was originally limited to the elite of the Imperial Court, but soon spread to samurai society and, by the Edo period, to the common people as well. Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune 1716 - 1745 planted areas of cherry blossom trees to encourage this. Under the sakura trees, people had lunch and drank sake in cheerful feasts.
Every year the Japanese Meteorological Agency and the public track the sakura zensen (cherry blossom front) as it moves northward up the archipelago with the approach of warmer weather via nightly forecasts following the weather segment of news programs. The blossoming begins in Okinawa in January and typically reaches Kyoto and Tokyo at the end of March or the beginning of April. It proceeds into areas at the higher altitudes and northward, arriving in Hokkaidō a few weeks later. Japanese pay close attention to these forecasts and turn out in large numbers at parks, shrines, and temples with family and friends to hold flower-viewing parties. Hanami festivals celebrate the beauty of the cherry blossom and for many are a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful view. 

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