Jan 28, 2021


Slow artist* Riko Monma has always been fascinated with nature: how it has shaped history, and the empirical and non-empirical data it holds. She connects nature’s detailed information to humanity through visualizations of human emotion in subtle details, flowing forms, and an earthy palette. Informed by her background in chemical engineering, Monma’s practice is a balance between the techniques of application and allowing the natural physical properties of her medium to interact in their own ways, creating intricate and organic abstract paintings. 

Her latest body of work, slowscapes, explores the emotional interpretation of nature’s landscapes by taking traditional Japanese ornamentation and abstracting it. This layered collection seeks inspiration from these emotions while also paying homage to her Japanese heritage and New Zealand upbringing.

Nature has played a large role in creating and characterizing ancient civilizations, and artists have represented it in simplified forms as decoration for centuries. In Japan, kakejiku was one of the main forms of doing so, and Monma has explored this technique for this new body of work. Kakejiku is a traditional frame originally used to display religious art and calligraphy; these frames were typically hung to bring serenity to a space. The modern paintings that form slowscapes are framed in the kakejiku method, bringing together the new and old to create a powerful yet calming energy. Monma portrays the vertical form of the frame as if it were a window overlooking a lush natural landscape, in the hope that the viewer can find a little comfort during these times of restriction and confinement.

* Slow art is about the appreciation of art in and of itself, as opposed to glancing at multiple works in quick succession.

About the Artist
Riko Monma is a Tokyo-based abstract/slow artist from Auckland, New Zealand. At 14, she graduated high school and then started her B.Sc. in Chemistry/Physics in the United States, and later completed a M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering at Hokkaido University. She began her artist career in 2018 after working in chemical research and product development in the cosmetics industry. Instagram.

slowscapes is on from Feb 4, 2021 to May 5, 2021 at the THE KNOT TOKYO Shinjuku 2F LOUNGE.
All works are for sale. For purchase enquires, please email fabriktheknot@ichigo.gr.jp.