07 July 2013

Freezing the Moment @ RA Fine Arts

The folds caught my attention in Taksu, and again in Raja Ahmad's gallery, who provided Mohd Akhir Ahmad an opportunity to showcase his considerable skill at painting fabric and pleats. Apparently not a reference to Johannes Vermeer, the budding artist's choice of a pearl earring to anchor this exhibition, is a peculiar one. In 'The Girl with Pearl Earring I', luscious folds of a lady's dress contrast with a crudely drawn rug, her pose an unmistakable reference to Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, an inspiration that the artist acknowledges. The svelte figure and a half-face are repeated in 'The Moment I See Her', marking an overly conscious attempt to fabricate mystery within his paintings.

The Girl with Pearl Earring I (2013)

More well-drawn but thematically boring are the depictions of pillows and blankets, where realistic textures of mundane objects, are illustrated in a manner similar to the marbles of self-taught artist Latif Maulan. It is a concern that young artists are taught to establish a signature style early in their careers, where adopting a fixed approach hinders artistic progression and experimental verve. Mohd Akhir shows potential to develop further as a figurative painter, but should first drop the signature elements. Perhaps start with painting the upper half of the lady's face?

Good Morning (2013)

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