Baño de Bosque is the most recent series by multidisciplinary artist Dionnys Matos, developed between the last months of 2021 and January 2022. The work is a metaphorical celebration of ‘shinrin-yoku’ (or ‘forest bathing’), the Japanese immersive meditative practice of experiencing nature via the five senses, promoting mental, physical and spiritual healing through a balance between the natural and emotional worlds. The many benefits of this practice range from lower cortisol levels, pulse rate and blood pressure to increased feelings of happiness and creativity, as well as a boost to the immune system. Here the artist offers a visuality of his personal experience—elements of the natural environment imbued with the effects of his practice.
Fragments of landscapes appear on repurposed pieces of bubble wrap which Dionnys injects, almost obsessively, with acrylic in a ritual that is itself a meditative exercise between the artist and his work. These pieces are a stir- ring reminder of nature as a sanctuary. The artist transits from the contemplation of beauty and tranquility to the contemplation of chaos and catastrophe, and it is not a gentle metaphor, it is the weight of reality: one day we may wake up and beauty will only be the memory of what our natural world once was. His ecocritical work has turned his gaze, and in turn ours, to the complexities around life’s cycles of daily use, waste, and complicity and has found poetry therein. Dionnys and his work are young, but the roots of his urgent message are not: this is the world, the planet, we have, and we must know how to see it and care for it, now.