Folding fans have a long and fascinating history as tools and as works of art. Australian artist Sarah Park explores their function and beauty in her ongoing series of oil paintings. Each canvas features a realistic human figure holding an open fan, creating an intricate design in the shadows that cover their skin.
Park studied Fine Art at UNSW COFA in Sydney, where she received her a Masters in Art and a Masters in Fine Art in Research. While she was there, she won awards in painting, drawing, and photography. Her fascination with the relationship between light and shadow inspired her to create a series of paintings in which anonymous figures pose with handheld fans.
These highly realistic works focus on the subject's hands, which open a folding fan to block the light. “I aim to evoke curiosity behind my subjects, through the use of carefully composed scenes that capture the intricate light and shadow play,” Park tells My Modern Met. Her simple compositions enhance the magical effects of dappled light on the space and human figure. “I want to encourage viewers to see beauty, to take pleasure in details that may otherwise go unnoticed, and to treasure and appreciate tranquil moments.”