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In Praise of Shadows

May 29th to July 20th, 2024

Melzi Fine Art is thrilled to announce "In Praise of Shadows," a captivating group exhibition featuring the evocative works of four London-based artists: Harriet Gillett, Ranny Macdonald, Lucy Neish, and Sophie Birch. This thought-provoking showcase, running from May 28th to July 20th, 2024, invites audiences to embark on a collective journey through the realms of memory, perception, and nostalgia.

"In Praise of Shadows" is a concept deeply rooted in Japanese aesthetics, derived from the essay "In Praise of Shadows" (陰翳礼讃, In'ei Raisan) by the Japanese author and novelist Jun'ichirō Tanizaki. This essay celebrates the beauty of impermanence, simplicity, and the play of light and shadow in traditional Japanese culture.

In the context of the exhibition, "In Praise of Shadows" serves as a thematic anchor, inviting viewers to contemplate the transient nature of memory and perception. Like the interplay of light and shadow, memory and perception are inherently ephemeral, shifting and evolving over time. The artists' works embody this concept by exploring themes of nostalgia, identity, and the passage of time, inviting audiences to find beauty in the shadows cast by the complexities of human experience.

Through their artistry, the artists pay homage to the Japanese aesthetic of "ma," which celebrates the spaces between objects, the silence between sounds, and the moments between moments. By embracing the beauty of impermanence and the subtle nuances of existence, the artists invite viewers to engage with their work on a deeper level, encouraging reflection on the fleeting nature of life and the enduring power of art to evoke emotion and provoke thought.

"In Praise of Shadows" thus becomes not only a title for the exhibition but also a philosophical framework through which to explore the rich tapestry of human experience as depicted by Harriet Gillett, Ranny Macdonald, Lucy Neish, and Sophie Birch. Just as shadows add depth and dimension to a work of art, so too do memories and perceptions shape our understanding of the world around us.

Harriet Gillett's aesthetic is characterized by a fusion of traditional subjects with contemporary materials, resulting in dreamlike compositions that blur the boundaries between past and present. Gillett's paintings are intimate snapshots that evoke personal memories while simultaneously transcending into the symbolic realm, inviting viewers to explore themes of identity and collective experience.

Ranny Macdonald's compositions are deeply rooted in his exploration of the conceptual lines between human culture and the natural world. By incorporating upcycled found materials into his work, Macdonald creates compositions that resonate with a sense of history and connection to the environment. His paintings challenge viewers to reconsider their relationship with nature, inviting them to contemplate the interconnectedness of all living beings.

Lucy Neish's works are characterized by a tactile and intimately applied approach to paint, resulting in compositions that evoke a sense of nostalgia and introspection. She manipulates found images and screenshots from films to challenge conventional modes of interpretation, creating collections that transcend their original context. Through her sepia-green lens, Neish unifies these images under an implied gaze, imbuing them with a sense of longing and uncertainty.

Through her enigmatic compositions, Sophie Birch’s paintings explores the intersection of memory and perception. She works with canvases stained by remnants of past paintings, coaxing out final versions through a delicate balance of addition and subtraction. Her works hover on visual thresholds, inviting viewers to contemplate the shifting and transformative nature of observation and association. Exploring combinations of human and more-than-human forms, Birch challenges viewers to confront the fragility of their own perspectives.

"In Praise of Shadows" invites audiences to embrace the transient nature of memory and perception, finding beauty in the shadows cast by the passage of time.

For more information, please visit Melzi Fine Art or contact

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