The Mum (Kiku)
The chrysanthemum (kiku) is the imperial flower of Japan as well as the national symbol. Having arrived in Japan in the 5th century, the flower quickly became a symbol of perfection due to the sublime way in which the petals unfurl. The chrysanthemum’s symbolic meaning varies depending on its color and variety. White chrysanthemums represent mourning, loss, devoted love, loyalty and rebirth. Having lived in Japan from 2018 to 2021, the artist worked from photographs of the flower in his Tokyo home. The notion of rebirth seemed particularly attractive in light of current global events.
As in all of Tharp's figurative work, the primary aim of this composition is to explore various traditions of painting and sculpture by combing them with the artist's own style—emerging with something altogether new. Tharp's process is both instinctual and strategic; however, there is never one, singular organizing principle at work in his compositions. Each painting involves fumbling around in the dark while simultaneously maintaining the projection of the artist's ultimate intentions.
② Represented by:
Storm Tharp’s paintings are created instinctually, eschewing any single organizing principle. The artist’s figurative works explore the combination of various painting and sculptural traditions with his own strategies—a process always driven by the artist’s beliefs and narrative sensibility. For Tharp, portraits can evoke an entire life story when the colors on the picture plane serve as an emotional code for unraveling that life story.
The chrysanthemum is the imperial flower of Japan and its symbolic meaning varies depending on its color and variety. White chrysanthemums represent mourning, loss, devoted love, loyalty and rebirth. The artist created this work in Japan; the notion of rebirth seemed particularly attractive in light of current global events.More