11 March 2013

Midterm @ Shalina Ganendra Fine Art

“Midterm” brings together 5 accomplished Malaysian artists into the serene confines of SGFA, displaying works covering a range of mediums and subjects.  Suhaimi Fadzir’s giant steel fish traps in the gallery’s compound attract immediate attention, a sharp contrast to the intricate marble sculptures opposite it by Jasmine Kok.  Her smaller works are laid out along the long table inside, leading on to the large photographs of Eiffel Chong.  These still and haunting seascapes, force the viewer into an extreme silence.  Eiffel's remarkable skill to elucidate empathy, towards a harmonisation with nature, is especially apparent when all 5 prints are viewed together as a panorama.

Eiffel Chong - Tanjung Sepat #2 / Sepang Goldcoast (2012)

The contemplative works are disrupted abruptly by Suhaimi’s three-dimensional works, where he literally highlights the disappearance of Orang Asli livelihood.  Razors, repeating printed objects, and faded photographs layer the canvas, topped with the neon lights of modernity.

Suhaimi Fadzir - Buah Naga (2013)

The socio-ecological commentary continue upstairs with Bibi Chew's spectacular "HomeGrown" and "HomeSoil" series.  In "HomeGrown", silhouettes are carved into woodblocks, where different lacquers are used to symbolise Malaysia's diverse ethnic make-up   Sublime topographic recreations of the 14 states are featured in "HomeSoil", the landlocked Kuala Lumpur depicted like a marked target.  Here, Bibi's individual pieces are striking enough, but these are complementary works meant to be appreciated together. Question posed is: The artist has highlighted the abundance of natural and human resources in these lands, so what are we doing about it?

Bibi Chew - HomeSoil - Sekeping Kuala Lumpur / Sekeping Selangor (2012)

Geometry and texture combine brilliantly in 'Link', Kim Ng's creation with coloured paper and a marbling effect.  The same effect is applied across the large works on display, along with many other techniques, culminating in 'Walking in the Same Direction as Others' - a collage of photographs, prints, and shapes, tinted in primary colours and grey.   However, the pieces which struck me (and has since made Kim my second favourite local artist) are the small works on display.  Thread scribbles, graphite drawings, coloured shapes, bitumen textures - each element depicts the lyricism of its medium, each form presents a stripped-down familiarity, each composition stimulates a recognition of bare aesthetic beauty.

Kim Ng - Untitled (from top left, clockwise) 87 / 83 / 92 / 84 (2012)

A truly outstanding exhibition, displaying works of the highest quality that can warrant a solo exhibition for each artist.  I hope "Midterm" will continue on as a recurring series, where a selected few can showcase the breadth of creative expressions in the Malaysian contemporary art scene.

Kim Ng - Link (2012)

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