Chica Seal:Dousing in a Blousy Top
Signed on reverse
Oil on canvas
48 x 72 inches
Chica Seal’s Dowsing in A Blousy Top depicts a figure, split across two panels, using a dowsing rod amid a rolling, natural landscape. The artist has reworked the image over time, creating a layered composition and detailed narrative.
Begun in late 2020 when the artist moved to Somerset, the painting is inspired by her own exploration of the surrounding landscape and historical sites. In the background of the left panel a tower-like structure emerges from the hills, suggesting an ancient site or ruin. Seal researched leylines, telluric pathways through the land, and associated practices such as dowsing and water divining. The painting’s central figure appears to be occupied by a search for a natural water source. The scene was inspired by the artist’s discovery of a tweet from a water company that admitted to still using these traditional methods of water sourcing.
Seal responds to this narrative in the work, creating a humorous response to the bizarre situation. Her figure is dressed in a billowing pink top and dark trousers, their fingers well manicured, which are accentuated by the artist’s use of curvaceous lines and vibrant hues. The flowers in the painting’s foreground appear animated with facial expressions, reacting to the figure’s unexpected interaction with the landscape as they pass by.
Despite the painting’s humour, Seal creates a harmonious composition, the figure’s rounded forms follow the direction and curves of the painting’s background and the use of pale greens and blues soften the figure’s dominant presence. Built up over time, the work blends the contemporary and the historical, representational and simplified forms, as well as humour and a reverence for the natural landscape.
B. United Kingdom 1991
Chica Seal (b. 1991, Lisbon) is a British artist whose practice explores the female perspective through looking at historic references including mythology, medieval folklore, storytelling and popular culture to create her paintings. Seal begins her work conceptually, collecting references which blend art history and the contemporary, before building her compositions in paint. More recently, her practice has shifted focus, with subject matter rooted in nature and the landscape.
She completed her BA Fine art Painting at Brighton University in 2015 after completing an art foundation at Falmouth University 2011. Seal has participated in residencies in the UK and Spain and has been exhibited extensively in the UK.
Seal lives and works in Somerset.