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Charles Blackman’s ‘Ikebana’ is the kind of work you can get lost in. Like Claude Monet’s ‘Waterlilies’, it fills your field of sight, pulling you towards the bottom of the garden. For Blackman, the garden - a recurring subject in his work - is redolent of childhood and innocence. It is the domain of solitude and dreams, light and dark, punctuated with vivid colours and shapes.
Escaping to the garden’s undergrowth is perhaps a metaphor for Blackman’s childhood. The writer Nadine Amadio argued that due to his erratic schooling, he was predominantly an autodidact, reading everything he could and in turn, developing a romanticism that is “often present in lonely and imaginative children” - those that make believe entire universes at the garden’s edge. He was beckoned again to the garden in the 1950s, when he and his former wife Barbara Blackman relocated to Brisbane where they settled near the flower farms at Tamborine. As Barbara’s eyesight diminished, the flowers they lived beside became some of the last stimuli she could distinguish, before giving way to perception through other senses, like smell.
These metaphoric, literal and emotional notions of the garden underpin ‘Ikebana’. Titled after the Japanese term for flower arrangement, this work is astoundingly delicate. Flowers curl around one another like fingers, the silhouette of a bird silently watching. Life is quiet and intricate at the garden’s edge; here the language of beauty rules.
For collectors of Blackman and floral art, escape into ‘Ikebana’ before it’s clipped by someone else.
To find out more about this exquisite work, and the story behind Blackman's Garden series, click here.
Charles BLACKMAN (1928 - 2018)'Ikebana'screenprint on paperEdition of 80Image Size: 46 x 87 cm Paper size: 75 x 105 Signed: Signed, titled and editioned bottom margin.Comes with Letter of ProvenanceCondition: excellent © Charles Blackman / Copyright Agency 2023
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