‘Clouds Come Floating’: Exploration of Skill and Creativity as Worship

April 24, 2024

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By 

Elle Yap

Clouds Come Floating is the new exhibit by painter and art educator Janice Liuson-Young. The exhibit, curated by Patrick de Veyra, opened at The Crucible Gallery in SM Megamall on April 23. It will be available for public viewing until May 5. 

The exhibit centers around her abstract expressionist works, a variety of cloud-like images that play with light and color. The title comes from Rabindranath Tagore, a poet and painter who once said that “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

Majesty of the Skies

Clouds Come Floating portrays nature on the move, expressing movement and context through the strokes and colors. There are small white shapes in the middle or the bottom of all the paintings, drifting across the abstract landscape. It certainly shows the artist delving further into a philosophical and metaphysical approach towards art. 

The works have a sense of movement in them that captures the living and unpredictable chaos of nature. It’s largely due to the strokework of Liuson-Young. The approach is very deliberate and forceful in a way that mimics nature’s own uncontrollable push. 

“Actually, it just came to me because I like doing gestural paintings. Before kasi, I liked calligraphy. So my strokes are mostly like gestural [while] I experimented with colors also,” she said. 

The diptych in the midst of Janice Liuson-Young's "Clouds Come Floating." Photo by Elle Yap.
The diptych in the midst of Janice Liuson-Young’s “Clouds Come Floating.” Photo by Elle Yap.

The main diptych of the exhibit contains vast, weighty strokes. Liuson-Young did the strokes in one go, while connecting the two canvases of the diptych together. It creates a dialogue between the two paintings, and a sense of wonder at the scale both of them had together.

A detailed look of the diptych. Photo courtesy of Partrick de Veyra.
A detailed look of the diptych. Photo courtesy of Partrick de Veyra.

Depicting Color in Nature

Many of the paintings have an interesting use of color towards the cloud-like shapes. The backgrounds vary in colors from yellow to light green to purple, and the shapes in the middle display varying shades of colors and lightness. Sometimes, the combination makes them look like the photo-negative version of the original painting, a way of showcasing the differences in the power of nature. 

Abstract paintings that were featured in the exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
Abstract paintings that were featured in the exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
Paintings that were featured in the exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
Paintings that were featured in the exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
Abstract paintings that were featured in the exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
Abstract paintings that were featured in the exhibit. Photo by Elle Yap.
Two painting for "Clouds Come Floating." Photo by Elle Yap.
Two painting for “Clouds Come Floating.” Photo by Elle Yap.
A painting that was featured in "Clouds Come Floating." Photo by Elle Yap.
A painting that was featured in “Clouds Come Floating.” Photo by Elle Yap.

Curator de Veyra acknowledges as much in his write-up for the exhibit. He wrote that the paintings acknowledge “that color perception is related to an object’s light absorption, reflection, emission spectra, and interference.” 

Liuson-Young said that her use of colors depends on what she feels like doing in the moment. 

“Actually, it’s more of what I feel, what colors will blend with the first colors I put, what will match with it or what will make it more interesting. Maybe the cross contrasting colors. Or sometimes, it’s analogous. It’s super of-the-moment mixing,” she said. 

Creation in the Moment

The works themselves betray a sort of seriousness with how it depicts the many moods of nature. The artist depicts nature with an understanding of its continued power in this world. It depicts positive feelings like ocean waves and negative feelings like the stormy ones that come in the less pastel-colored paintings. 

While Liuson-Young didn’t assign any specific deeper meaning to her exhibited works, she sees the sharing of her talent as a way of worship and taking part in the creations all around her. 

Artist Janice Liuson-Young photographed in front of her paintings. Photo courtesy of Patrick de Veyra.
Artist Janice Liuson-Young photographed in front of her paintings. Photo courtesy of Patrick de Veyra.

“Well, maybe, spiritually, it’s sort of like worshiping the Creator. It’s like doing your best in what you know how to do, so it’s like worship or praise to your Creator who created everything. We [have] a small Creator in ourselves, like in me painting or other people, different professions, they also create in their own way. In my way, it [becomes] sort of [my form of worship],” she said. 

Clouds Come Floating portrays the chaos of nature from the perspective of the self, and how one can invoke nature even without using specific symbols of nature itself. As art continues to evolve, abstraction becomes essential as a way of portraying the chaos within ourselves that we cannot put into words. It’s stark and honest, and one that allows the viewer to join into the complications of the artist’s inner world. 

Related reading: Space Sensibility: Design Using Sense & Emotion

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