‘Year's end, all corners of this floating world, swept’- Matsuo Bashō

The role of an artist like scientists - if indeed artists do have a role - is to question and to present those questions in a way that others may contemplate and take forward.

This leads me to question how we all view the surrounding world and how we order it in our minds. Is a landscape static or fluid? Does it have one viewpoint or multiple viewpoints? A fixed absolute point in space is neither fixed nor absolute. The march of time has shown to be an illusion appearing at once to be both linear and non-linear. Is an artwork anything other than a collection of materials, thoughts and particles? Perhaps it is a political action or merely a selfish undertaking? The only explanation is to ask more questions and to keep doing so.

I have long been interested in the artform of Ukiyo-e from the term Ukiyo meaning Floating World in Japanese. The floating world was synonymous with a life of emotion, extravagance and pleasure that somehow at the same time hinted at the boredom and dullness of everyday life. In fact, Ukiyo is a homophone to the Japanese term for Sorrowful World. I am fascinated by the way these artworks often present a picture plane that is both indoors and outdoors at the same time. I have sought to utilise these elements of the Ukiyo-e in contemporary settings and to combine them with current issues and concerns such as the environment.

The artworks I have has produced for Four Corners are imbued with the floating world and are what I like to call misappropriations. I enjoy reworking artworks sourced from junk shops, skips and car boot sales. Using these as a well-prepared ground or starting point to confuse and blur the lines between the figurative and abstract worlds.

Neil Irons born 1964 in Scotland and based in London since the late ’80s. I studied fine art in Dundee (BA) and Chelsea (MA). My visual practise incorporates painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, and film. I have exhibited widely in the UK and Europe and have carried out and been shortlisted for many public art commissions and various art projects and residencies.

Video Channel - vimeo.com/neilironsartist 

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