Exhibition allows artist to explore new techniques

 Oct 01, 2015

Our resident fine artist Junko O'Neill has been selected to take part in the exhibition 10 Days 2015 CHALK the biennial festival of different forms of creative practices across Winchester.

The theme of the exhibition is 'chalk' with artists invited to explore the natural material that connects the historic city of Winchester with its past and with the chalk stream and downland landscape and showcase it in their work.

Although chalk is widely used in traditional Japanese painting, Junko, who originates from Japan, has never before worked with the natural substance.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for me to experiment with working with chalk,” explained Junko, when we caught up with her in her studios at The Sorting Office.

“I began by working on small pieces of Japanese Ogura Hemp paper with different Japanese pigments, exploring different techniques and ways of working with these different materials.

“Once I became confident with the process I began work on the large piece for the exhibition.”

The result: Heliotrope – a stunning, translucent, work that sees Junko using the Japanese traditional paints made of natural mineral pigments as well as raw ground chalk. The time these materials are trapping within them is expressed with intricate laces drawn by the Japanese white, made of ground oyster shells, over the ecru-tinted white of chalk.

“The way I worked on this painting was a lot freer than how I normally paint which I think is reflected in the ease of the piece,” said Junko.

 “It was very difficult for me to “let go”, to step away and let it just be, without me wanting to fill in every little hole created by the porous chalk. It was challenging but equally liberating.”

Heliotrope by Junko O’Neill will be on display at CHALK Hub, City Space, The Winchester Discovery Centre as part of the '10 Days 2015 CHALK' exhibition which runs from October 10 to November 7. There will be a Grand Opening Event on October 10 from 6pm to 9pm.


​Junko O'Neill is a fine artist working out of The Sorting Office. The foundation of her work lies in the Japanese spatial and temporal concept of Ma, in which space is considered to be fundamentally void. The concept considers negative space as having a form of existence, with space perceived alongside time. It is neither alone of space alone. Junko expresses this concept both in her figurative and abstract work. Find out more about Junko at http://www.junkooneill.com/