Drawing inspiration from nature, Yuki Aruga creates floral still life paintings that explore her mixed Japanese-British heritage.
Adopting the techniques and craftmanship perfected in Old Master painting, the artist is inspired by religious iconography from the Early Modern period. Although her works contribute to the ongoing Western tradition of still-life painting, conceptually her canvases are rooted in Eastern philosophy and Japanese aesthetic principles. Acting as a metaphor for her mixed-race heritage, her work challenges inherent dichotomies by existing somewhere between abstraction and figuration, the real and the virtual, presence and absence and East and West. The artist often utilises the motif of roses in her work as a nod to heritage as although synonymous with the English rose garden and epithet, English rose, the species originates from East Asia.
Undertaking her Foundation in Art & Design in 2004, Yuki Aruga graduated with a diploma from Wimbledon School of Arts in 2005. Following this, she went on to study at Camberwell College of Arts, graduating with a BA Hons Fine Art Painting in 2008. That year, Aruga participated in her first group exhibition, entitled Salon Art Prize 08 which was produced in partnership with VINEspace gallery, now known as Gooden Gallery.
In 2010, Aruga became an Artist in Residence at Sir William Perkins’ School in Surrey and later on that year, she participated in a group show held at Barbican Arts Group Trust. In 2012, Aruga took her career international, participating in the Trélex Residency in Switzerland, which she would go on to do again in 2016. Following her residency, Aruga held her first ever solo exhibition entitled, Ever Spring, at L’Artisan Parfumeur in Covent Garden. Two years later, she launched her first solo exhibition outside of the United Kingdom, exhibiting Only Now… with Cat Street Gallery in Hong Kong. Just a few months later, she exhibited at Art Taipei, an international art fair in Taiwan that is considered the landmark of Asian art.
Opening up her work to the Asian market as a result, Aruga exhibited in a pop-up show with the same gallery at The Four Seasons in Hong Kong in 2015. Collaborating with the Royal Overseas League, she held another solo exhibition in London that year entitled Now and Again. Since then, Aruga has gone on to participate in over ten different group shows across the globe, exhibiting her work in prestigious locations such as the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy.
In 2016, she held her most recent solo exhibition at Chappell Contemporary entitled Whole to Part and in 2019, Aruga returned to education to perfect her craftsmanship. Undertaking a Masters in Fine Art, she graduated from City & Guilds London Art School in 2020.
Over the years, Aruga has worked in the studios of prolific artists such as David Wightman, Claire Morgan, Nina Rodin and Ralph Heimans.
This year, Maddox Gallery are delighted to be exhibiting her work for the first time in a group hang at our flagship location in Maddox Street.