“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”
These words are attributed to painter Henri Matisse. I don’t think they are a celebration of optimism or self-deception, but rather a recognition of the true value of close observation, that in many cases nourishes the artistic practice. I also believe that Thom has been able to carefully observe the surroundings of the gallery during these weeks of June and, in fact, flowers can usually be found in his recent work… on washed-out fabric or embossed, transcending the two dimensional surface of the painting. They become a symbol of grace and fragility, but also of persistence and obstinacy.
Flowers bloom, die, reappear in a cycle that continues to accumulate revolutions. When walking in a hurry it’s hard to notice them. It’s not surprising then that the title chosen by the artist for his first exhibition in our gallery is precisely “Step Lightly”. The show features a new series of works that Thom Trojanowski (1988, Kidderminster) has produced during his stay in the L21xFundación Camper Residence and that encourages us to reflect on our relation with nature in a current moment of climatic crisis.
Themes like the footprint or the trace can also be interpreted as a subtle allusion to the choice of materials, determined by the spatial context of the gallery. The artist has used objects found in the industrial estate where L21 is located, realizing in his walks how, even in a grey area of industrial production, nature always finds a place for itself: grass grows between the cobblestones and the trees break the asphalt with their roots and raise the pavement on which we walk every day. Some of that broken pavement has ended up in the artist’s works, in a hard to classify territory between painting and sculpture. In his own words, “one can’t control nature, it always breaks through concrete.”
Maybe it’s time to stop thinking of nature in terms of control or dominion, to be more conscious of our own impact in the world and carefully observe our surroundings. This morning, on the way to the gallery, I also saw the flowers.
Esmeralda Gómez Galera.