In traditional Japanese art, emotions are often expressed through the representation of the natural world. Sumiko Seki’s recent paintings draw on these traditions to portray the transience of life by depicting flowers in their exquisite temporary bloom and inevitable journey into decay.
Seki’s paintings echo the symbolism of Japanese kimono design, which often has complex levels of meaning. Her intense cadmium yellows, for example, express the joy of harvest, whilst her red paintings symbolise passionate but transient love. Flowers that Seki selects are symbolic of human traits. The bamboo, for instance, bends in the wind but never breaks. One of the most striking aspects of Seki’s work is the way her flowers appear to float over their ethereal backgrounds.
Seki studied calligraphy in Japan, and this informs her direct impasto brush strokes. Birds, animals and butterflies (a symbol of rebirth) appear from the backgrounds and seem to hint at other symbols and narratives.
Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2003, Short listed, London
The Red Mansion Spero Prize 2002, Short listed, London
The First Prize, Sefton Open Exhibition, Sefton
Elizabeth Sccot Moore Prize, Watercolour C21, London
Art Review Magazine Student Prize, Watercolour C21, London
Linklaters & Co. Ltd, New York
Fidelity Investments International, London