Richard Hannavy Cousen

My work encompasses painting, drawing and sculpture and tends to combine close observation of nature with a surrealist aesthetic. The Lepidoptera series of oil paintings are an exploration of a contradiction. Each butterfly (which would live but a few weeks at most) is solidified and magnified to many times its life size. A fracturing occurs in each painting whereby the fragility of the insect is described into a cascade of abstraction. Wings might melt, fragment, shatter or become somehow unhinged to become the field in which the insect sits. These paintings are therefore like an exaggeration of the natural eroding and disintegration that occurs in nature where the poetic (almost cliched) beauty is always transient, ephemeral and on the edge of decay. The field of abstracted shapes might conversely be seen as a creative foment of component parts that might one day meld together to reform the butterfly - an echo of the mystery of the chrysalis.

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