Cloony is a British abstract artist of Malaysian Chinese heritage.
She is influenced by Chinese tradition, Buddhism, Taoism as well as contemporary movements such as abstract expressionism.
Her paintings are very much informed by Eastern philosophies and practices - such as ancient traditions of calligraphy -and how these are related to deep concepts of energy, gestural markings and embodiment within the painting itself. This is what really informs much of Cloony's process and means that her works, rather than being traditional representations, or what we would normally understand as ‘abstract’ in the conventional sense - are indeed 'embodiments' themselves.
Cloony's artistic journey began at the age of sixteen studying seventeenth century embroidery in depth. Her eye for detail led her on to be a successful jewellery designer and silversmith. After college she travelled with her work as head accessories designer to India and the East. Subsequently she returned to her first passion for embroidery and travelled frequently to Paris and spent many years as a couture beader for several British and international designers.
In 2012 Cloony began experimenting painting on a large scale which offered her the freedom to express her creativity in a completely different way. She was initially influenced from her practice of Chinese calligraphy, which she had already began to study in the early nineties as a result from a profound practice in Tai Chi.
Cloony wanted to explore a non-linguistic expressionism using the art of calligraphy incorporating the essence of ancient philosophies in Taoism and Buddhism.
Cloony uses oversized Chinese calligraphic ink brushes to create a visible manifestation of moving energy from herself through the brush onto the paper, where each brush movement and breath are interconnected, underlying her root concept of interconnectedness and the seed that lies at the core of each piece. Such connections between Cloony’s Tai Chi practice and artistic production are clearly originated and echoed here in her work.
A Tai Chi practitioner's metaphor of a silk thread unravelling as the physical movements are practised, is intentionally replicated in the continuity of her brushstrokes. Entwined in everything she produces there is a deep philosophical element, a representation of the present moment with each mindful brushstroke - which once completed, is a reminder of impermanence and emptiness.
Given this interesting heritage it is equally important to remember that Cloony is very much a British artist - having been born and brought up entirely in the United Kingdom. Her exposure and training in various forms of Western art included studying at the Slade School of Art and also lecturing at Central St Martin’s. Hence at this point in her career, Cloony is organically merging all her experiences, influences and diverse practices together. All of these have involved hugely different forms - material - concepts and themes and producing pieces which are deeply rooted in the ancestry and artistic lineages of both east and west, which are placed upon a foundation – a personal inner landscape - comprised of her own unique amalgamation of spiritual practices and beliefs. Her work can be seen as a result of a meeting point between the lineages of Chinese calligraphic imagery and western abstract expressionist art - a third space.
Confining Cloony’s work within a strictly eastern philosophical or modern western abstract tradition would be misleading. Here is an artist doing both – in her own way.
© 2017 Adele Cloony