An original painting on board by celebrated Japanese artist mirocomachiko.
Description: A horned figure with gold eyes. Part centaur-like, part squid creature
Date of Artwork: August 2021
Location of Signature: on reverse
Size: Height 49.8cm x Width 30cm x Depth 2.7cm
After a sell out collection of paintings from the artist in 2015, it’s been a long and exciting wait for this second collection. During this time she has moved from Tokyo to a small house and studio on top of a hill in the ancient island of Amami Oshima in southern Japan.
When these paintings first arrived at The Shop Floor Project earlier this month we were taken aback by the palpable energy of this new collection of work. Energy in the brush strokes, patterns and compositions. The island has given mirocomachiko a different perspective where ‘the rules of nature are much more difficult and precious than the rules made by humans’.
“The evening, floating on the sea. I hold my breath and dive in, look up at the sky and breathe. Hold my breath and go under the sea.”
“I move back and forth between the sea and sky. The two begin to merge. Water and air become vague, and clouds and stones fly by. Whether in the sea or sky, sound is blurred, and I won't know if I breathe out or in. Then the creatures appear. It’s not fish or birds. Does it swim or fly? Observe with fascination the creatures floating in front of me, I draw.”
These paintings are inextricable from the place where they have been created. The island mirocomachiko now calls home is a magical, mystical place. A mountainous archipelago with densely forested slopes rising sharply from the shoreline, the island also contains Japan’s largest evergreen broadleaf forest and a huge mangrove forest full of creatures and myths. The surrounding waters contain sea turtles laying on tables of coral, vibrant sea slugs, schools of tropical fish and pygmy seahorses. Many of these ‘shapes of the island’ can be seen in this new collection.
The paintings are as if a fossil or stone, found on the beach, has been split open and within the cross-section of ancient rock a world has been revealed that bursts into life.
Topographical lines are painted like aerial views of the island, contours of the landscape on the wings of a flying moth-fish-woman, flying through a liquid sky, golden eyes glowing and showing the way.
The paintings are often covered in energetic speckled and dot-like marks, they conjure visions of sea-foam, rain or ancient stones, fossils and mineral rocks.
Playing with perception is a continuing theme in the artist’s work, and is where much of the delight is found as a viewer. Over time our eyes pick out different shapes: a sounding of a whale’s tail perhaps, or a butterfly-like cape for a figure with horns. It is in these merging images, shapes and colours that mirocomachiko finds her unique voice.
There is something deeper in this collection, a sense of nurture and care. There are creatures showing the way to smaller ones, mothers with their flock perhaps on a migration somewhere. Turtles swim with offspring along the warm and ancient Kuroshio current.
Or fungi-like creatures with wide open arms, scooping up all the shapes and creatures of the forest floor in a protective act.
No more so is this seen than in the grand finale of the collection, an epic 1.2 metre long painting that follows all manner of flying fish through the air or water, golden eyes shining as they follow a winged creature flying at speed through the wind or current. This one is a piece we are finding difficult not to keep for our own collection!
These Floating Creatures seem to nurture a custodianship of the natural world. Through these works mirocomachiko shows a desire to celebrate this ancient landscape, to capture a magical, liquid world that is just beyond our vision but one we can sense when the light changes or the world is quiet.