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Mascia Manunza

Gathering Clouds, 2007 

Pigments, Oil Pastel, House Paint, Graphite on canvas

76" x 53" 

Installation at Lehmann Leskiw Fine Art (Toronto)

Photo: Nadia Molinari

$6,800 CDN (Please inquire for shipping)

In this work from the Blue Aether series, Mascia Manunza has been referencing Luke Howard’s early 19th century ''Classification of Clouds'' system that identifies the time and flow of a cloud, fixing it in a moment of existence.

Clouds are continually changing and appear in an infinite variety of forms. The system suspends the evolution of a cloud’s movement to identify, name, and classify any given moment of its existence, whether developing, maturing, or dissipating.

For Manunza, “viewing this classification identifies a ''motionless status'' of an authentic evolving cloud (like still images of a movie sequence). The classified moment (imaginary cloud) reaches a moment of suspension until the viewers’ attention moves to the actual contour of the cloud.”

In this series of large works on paper or canvas, Manunza intuitively interprets the energy and characteristics of a given cloud, sometimes incorporating meteorological symbols within the work. When installed together as an installation, she adds more of these symbols above the works, creating moments of shifting focus between the cloud’s interior, its border, and symbols used to identify it, while establishing a distinct division that resembles a boundary rather than a mere margin between images and words. This border separates the images from the terminology employed for classification, yet simultaneously bridges the realm of reason with that of intuition.

The series was named after the Greek god Aether who personified light and the bright, blue ether of the heavens the upper skies, space and heaven. Considered as one of the elementary substances out of which the Universe was formed. His dominion was where the gods lived, rather than the colourless mist in the world of mortals.

The connection between the Greek god Aether, systems of cloud classifications, and Manunza’s work lies in the concept of transcendent and ethereal elements that bridge the material and the immaterial, the structured and the fluid, in both the natural world and artistic expression.

Just as Aether represented an intangible realm that connected the physical and divine, Manunza’s work transcends the tangible world, reaching into the abstract and emotional. Clouds, with their constantly shifting forms and ethereal nature, have been a recurring motif in art, representing impermanence, transition, and the interplay between the known and the unknown. Manunza grapples with the challenge of translating the ineffable into tangible forms. This interplay between structure and fluidity, the rational and the intuitive, resonates with the divine essence of Aether and the transformative power of art.

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