24 December 2013

Recent Works @ The Edge Galerie

The catchy “2 + 2” theme simplifies the presentation of recent works by established artists, as a wealthy target clientèle quickly snap up market-relevant and distinguished works. This is apparent for auction darling Ahmad Zakii Anwar, whose first three sales out of five pastel drawings are for an ethnic Malay man, a smoker, and one attractive peach-coloured portrait. Following on his recent series of works, 'Ketuanan' and 'Rumah Pisang' by Jalaini Abu Hassan stand out for its metaphorical content. The former shows Soekarno with stained shirt holding a parang, the backlit former Indonesian president and bloody doorway, forming a sinister scene that overshadows the lovely floral fabric floor. White light shines into a kampong house in the latter, where bunches of ripening bananas lie on the ground shielded from the blinding blaze. Both paintings are executed brilliantly, and immediately allow the Malaysian to inject interpretations of social realities.

Jalaini Abu Hassan - Ketuanan (2013)

Tajuddin Ismail pays homage to Eduardo Chillida and Cy Twombly, where the 40-year old 'Night in Giverny' proves to be a more beautiful painting than the recent 'Bloom' with similar motifs. As another old work 'Mosaic (Turquoise)' testifies, Tajuddin's works can be considered progressive once upon a time, but the lack of improvisation has relegated such art to wall hangings in 5-star hotels. Drew Harris fares worse, where the result of "'fracturing'... in traditional Asian brush painting" seem to be strange cut-up blocks of canvases with painted Lucio Fontana slashes. In comparison, local artist Daud Rahim has explored the brush stroke ala Roy Lichtenstein in a more engaging manner. Both abstract specialists hardly feature in local art auctions, as compared to the two figurative masters whom command escalating prices. The question that brings to bear then, are abstract and recent two increasingly disparate terms?

Tajuddin Ismail - Night in Giverny (1960s)

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