Art: Japanese Art Made an Impression on Denise Wyllie but She’s a Constable Fan

Japanese art, English landscapes, and Impressionism are all identifiable in the arc of Denise Wyllie’s creative journey. However, it’s Japan which figures most prominently in her creative itinerary over the next few months, with her work selected for the upcoming Tokyo International Mini-Print Triennial 2018. Denise Wyllie is one of 7 selected artists from the UK and the only woman printmaker representing the UK.

Her digital artwork ‘Palm Print’ will be exhibited at Tama Art University Museum from October 27, 2018 to December 2 2018. This print then becomes a valued printmaking item of the Tama Art Museum collection ( Her long time ties to the nation formed through other such past exhibitions and creative sojourns. She has been influenced by painting the nation’s cherry blossom, wisteria and Mount Fuji and has exhibited her prints in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Her discussions with her Japanese creative counterparts and collaborators enlightened about the importance of Zen and Tao in the creative process. The emotional content of the Japanese artist drives the energy of the brushwork – energy being the key word. Such brush strokes are allowed to get messy as long as they truthfully and wholehearted convey this energy. Denise Wyllie, now responsive to the Tao philosophies, also freely expresses this energy and portrayal of movement.

‘In my drawings I wish to harness the feeling of the wind and energy of living things in the landscape. These brush marks in my paintings and prints link with Japanese artists sensibilities. It is uninhibited in its creation but distilled with many years of experience’ – Denise Wyllie

She also identifies one of Britain’s greatest landscapes painters Constable as an influence because of the energy of his preparatory work. His best known work, now national treasures, belie the powerful sketch blueprints which show a Constable abandoning constraint and conformity and driving forth from creative source – at one with nature.

Despite playing second fiddle to his prodigiously successful contemporary Turner, Constable only sold a few paintings in the UK but was a great success in France. The French were unabashed fans of the English landscapes (even as Napoleon set his sights on these shores) and this may have filtered through into the work of the early Impressionists. Denise maintains that even if her work shares the light play nuances of Impressionism and the sunny Med, everything harks back to the pioneering influences of the great Constable.

Wyllie’s landscapes conjure up the fresh notebook studies of Constable’s windswept scenes of sea and skies. Her paintings expressive style is linked with conveying the energy of nature. And where better to produce these canvases than at the premier rose gardens in the UK – David Austin’s Rose Gardens and Plant Centre in Shropshire. Now a familiar face at the centre, Denise has an extensive and powerful portfolio that engages the energy of nature and the bounce and troughs of seasonal flows.

Eddie Saint-Jean

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