London-based artist Yuki Aruga studied fine art painting at Wimbledon School of Art and Camberwell College of Arts, graduating with a first-class honours degree in 2008. In 2016 her painting Severance was long-listed for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize: Figurative Art Today and shown in the associated exhibitions at the Mall Galleries in London and Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. In 2020 her work was selected for the ING Discerning Eye exhibition.
Fuelled by her passion for nature, draftsmanship and traditional artistic techniques, Yuki has studied and assisted taxidermists, florists and painters whose practices and methods are rooted in tradition.
Drawing on personal experiences and her mixed Japanese-British heritage, Yuki’s works are a manifestation of her ongoing investigation into how we understand, perceive and preserve time. Featuring exquisite, meticulously observed and executed flowers and other natural subjects, they are inspired by European still life paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries – works associated with the concept of the Sublime – as well as traditional Japanese aesthetic norms.
Yuki references the brief phases of perpetual and cyclical processes present in nature to demonstrate the briefness and fragility of life. “My work is a response to my fixation with time; my attempt at stopping its incessant passing, to hold something still and immovable, preserving it in a particular moment. I aim to address these anxieties and a sense of allotted time.”
Placing her subjects within a dark abyss, suspended, ungrounded and displaced, Yuki encourages viewers to engage only with the form. Negative spaces and partially erased imagery allow a sense of presence through absence, alluding to notions of the void, loss and boundlessness. She endeavours to bring a silence to her work to enable us to observe nature more closely and consider the overlooked, giving permanence to subjects that are transitory and insignificant.
Yuki has participated in numerous exhibitions and art fairs around the world, including the group shows Curated at the Amar Gallery in London in 2019, Small is Beautiful More and Less at Unit 3 Projects in London in 2017, Lost + Found at the ASC Studios, London, and Whole to Part at Chappell Contemporary, Kent, in 2016. In 2015, she showed in Now and Again at The Royal Over-Seas League in London and with Chappell Contemporary, as well as in a pop-up exhibition with the Cat Street Gallery at The Four Seasons in Hong Kong. In 2014, she participated in Art Taipei in Taiwan, and in the same year her work was the subject of a solo show, Only Now, at the Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong. Yuki has also undertaken several artist residencies, including most recently the Trélex Residency in Switzerland and at Stiwdio Maelor in Corris, Wales.
Yuki regularly creates paintings for private clients and welcomes new commissions.