The exhibition title refers to a shifting relationship between the self and the perception of the surrounding world, which Cantons describes as a constant revisioning and adjustment of the concepts of truth and understanding. As Cantons says, "Nothing is fixed. Everything is in flux, and anything can change it.”
In these recent works, ideas of transience are explored in figurative and floral paintings, in which the shimmering saturation of colour and fluid brushwork appear to allude to moments of ripening at the turning point of decay. Many of the floral works were painted on residency in Italy during the summer of 2022, resulting in an abundance of light emanating from the paintings, which became repeated in the form of memory in later works on her return to London.
The recurring floral motifs reflect both a personal symbolism, and a contemporizing of the art historical genre of 17th century Vanitas painting. Frequently featuring roses, often associated with romance, Cantons’ paintings simultaneously reflect earthly sensuousness and a record of time passing, embodying the entangled notion of what she describes as “everything and nothing.” Cantons says, "It is only in something or someone passing, that we understand its value and temporariness. And it feels bittersweet. Because our nature is ‘to resist’. The paintings are a resistance to the idea that nothing is absolute.”
The self-portrait Good fortune or An October Flush, captures the first stages of recovery from facial surgery. The artist here reflects on the "good fortune" of transformative surgery, while the blooming scars and bruises reflect a visceral awareness of the fragility of mortality. Reflecting on the nature of trust required in the process, Cantons says: "It's about seizing the moment; a leap of faith.”
Victoria Cantons: Nothing is Absolute press release