James Tapscott, the Melbourne-based Land & Light artist, is delighted to announce completion of a new project in Shenzhen, China, in association with Art Front Gallery and United Art Projects.

Diaphanous Bloom is an abstracted tree, almost nine meters high, constructed in polished stainless steel, which is softened and buffeted by a hazy canopy of illuminated mist.

Completed early in 2018, Tapscott uses the mist as a medium to delineate between man-made and natural elements. The city of Shenzhen has sprung from a fishing village to a metropolis of over 12 million people in a few short decades. Almost all the vegetation has been placed there ‘artificially.’ Diaphanous Bloom was commissioned for the new MixC development, which is likewise carefully landscaped with greenery. “I wanted to produce a work that shows the stark contrast between natural and unnatural. The tree itself is abstracted – and then it erupts in a mist, something that is purely natural, escaping to the wild.”
For him, working with mist is an interesting analogy of human control over nature, and the mist acts as a ghostly reminder of the Earth’s disappearing green spaces. By placing his artwork at the end of a line of similar sized trees, Tapscott connects this dialogue with the site.

The award-winning Tapscott is the founder-director of the Globelight Festival in Australia, and has exhibited in galleries and sculpture parks in Italy, Slovakia, Austria and California, in addition to his native Australia. Born in Melbourne in 1980, he studied Painting at Curtin University in Perth in the late 1990s.

Rarely using colour, Tapscott’s works stands out from the field of artists working in Light, for being particularly concerned with the ‘genius loci’, and for captivating narratives that emerge at the littoral edge where land meets water and water meets light.

Tapscott is perhaps best known internationally for a 2017 installation at the Japan Alps Festival orchestrated by Fram Kitagawa. There, in the forest, Tapscott’s ‘Arc Zero Nimbus’ established a magical presence in the trees. With this piece, Tapscott seems to set out his ambitions for the future and his vision of Land/Light art.

“I don’t like to impose my will on a place,” he said. “Beginning a project with a soft set of parameters allows for real magic to happen. I was delighted to be part of the Japan Alps festival and fortunate to receive their wonderful support.”

Arc Zero is a 6-meter walk-through ring set over a wooden bridge in a forest. Illuminated by two layers of soft LEDs, the ring is set with nozzles which mist local river water like a halo, creating a magical ever-changing play between light and liquid, and turning the negative space of the ring into a diaphanous crystalline O.

Blending with the forest surroundings during the day, the mist works with the ambient conditions to produce crepuscular rays and rainbows around the viewer, while in darker hours the ghostly structure glows with something like a spiritual energy. A discrete hut nearby houses the many pumps and filters required to get the river water clean and pressurized into mist.

UAP, who orchestrated Tapscott’s ‘Diaphanous Bloom’ in Shenzhen, are originally from Brisbane, but recently expanded to China, New York and the Middle East, as facilitators for large-scale public art projects.