Alan Lau | Beauty in the Decay

Someone once said that the only constant in life is continual change. That seems to sum up my life as of late. Last year the studio I used in the old Uwajimaya building was torn down for a new retail/apartment complex and I had to vacate. It was a studio where I had gotten comfortable as a bear in hibernation. The gallery that had represented me in Seattle since 1980 closed as well and the owner, Francine Seders went into semi-retirement. Several friends died or became ill. In this period of transition I continued to paint in a new studio but it didn't feel quite the same. And to top if off, after working for over 30 years, I decided to retire. The work presented here shows the artist going through changes both physically and emotionally. At the end of this period I returned to Japan for a visit after an absence of many years due to the support of a grant from the Esther and Adolph Gottlieb Foundation. The month we went was to be an in-between period in which the tail end of autumn began to wither into the early stages of winter. The Japanese poet Basho once wrote that sometimes you have to have a willingness to let the world go. I found this true for the seasons as well when I chanced upon a lotus pond. The once majestic stalks with their jeweled blossoms of white petals were now broken and dry, their brown necks bent over in cold dark water, awaiting a lace of ice. But this beauty in decay I found just as honest and as true as the radiance of summer. And so this new work is a reflection of a life in flux, a time that may germinate into something else entirely different. We can only wait and keep our eyes open. Thanks for being here to witness those changes. -ALAN LAU