YUKI ARUGA - WITHOUT END
Maddox is delighted to welcome British artist Yuki Aruga for her debut exhibition, Without End, at its Mayfair gallery. Running from 8th June to 16th July, the works on show are a hauntingly beautiful introduction to the London-based artist, whose hyperrealist still-life paintings of flowers are rendered in exquisite detail.
Predominantly known as a painter, Yuki Aruga adapts her practice to suit her ideas, becoming a sculptor, taxidermist, draftsman, filmmaker - whatever the concept calls for. Her dedication to learning traditional artistic techniques to broaden and deepen her practice, including verre églomisé, guilding, Japanning and faux marbling, is reflected in the scope of works on show, which encompass paintings, sculptures, decorative glass panels and sketches.
Born in Essex, Yuki studied fine art at Wimbledon School of Art and Camberwell College of Arts, graduating with a First-Class Honours degree in 2008. In 2016, her painting Severance was longlisted for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize: Figurative Art Today. The artist was awarded an MA with distinction from the City & Guilds of London Art School in 2021, after which she was invited to join the Painter Stainers’ Decorative Surfaces Fellowship. Upon completing the fellowship, Yuki became an honorary Freeman of the Painter-Stainers’ Company.
At the heart of the exhibition is a series of eight tondos – circular works of art – and a diptych that reveal Yuki’s fixation on detail, texture and colour. Core to her practice is a desire to document things she finds beautiful in her every day, with flowers, and roses in particular, a favourite subject. Capturing fleeting moments in time when a rose blooms and quickly fades, each painting can be viewed as a metaphor for the cycle of life.
There is a sense of stillness and quiet to Yuki’s artworks that speaks of her fastidious nature. Producing a painting begins by creating a collage of photographs, for example roses on the cusp of losing their petals overlaid with a caterpillar and a bird’s wing, with everything about her process intentionally slow and meditative.
As a child, Yuki’s British-Japanese identity led her to feel isolated, and she used art as a means of escape. Today, Yuki’s mixed-race heritage feeds her practice and shapes her aesthetic, which displays clear East Asian influences with its richness, subtlety and delicacy. The way in which her subject matter is suspended in a dark void – the negative space, known as ma in Japanese – reflects the feeling of never quite being from one place or another.
The title of the exhibition is inspired by the tanka poem of the same name by Ono no Komachi, considered one of Japan’s greatest female writers, whose poetry dates from the period 833-857.
- Ono no Komachi
A rumination of what it feels like to long for someone from a female perspective, the poem is a pathway into a dreamscape that exists only in the mind. This resonated strongly with Yuki, who views the canvas as a window into another realm.
“From her Vanitas paintings, which recall Dutch still-lifes, through to her sculptures and glass panels, what is startling to me is how diverse Yuki’s practice is,” says Maeve Doyle, Artistic Director of Maddox Gallery.
Journeying through the artist’s mind, her works give voice to subjects that occupy Yuki’s thoughts, but which can be difficult vocalise, revealing their beauty layer by layer.
- Maeve Doyle
Yuki has shown at numerous exhibitions and art fairs around the world, including the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition in 2020 and Unpacking Gainsborough at the Cynthia Corbett Gallery in 2021, both in London, and undertaken several artist residencies, most recently the Trélex Residency in Switzerland. In 2022, she participated in two group shows with Maddox Gallery. Without End is her debut solo show with Maddox.