01 May 2014

Off Gravity: Into Contemplation @ Aku Cafe & Gallery

Influenced by the USM schools of thought i.e. Fauzan Omar and Hasnul J Saidon, situating the self via a methodical framework appears to be an important aspect in TC Liew's art practice. His ongoing "Off Gravity" series is exhibited at the kilometre zero of Peninsular Malaysia, as regional concerns take a back seat to contemplative drawings of sense organs and familiar insects. A wall sticker and video loop summarise TC's art output, denoting a premature academic desire to categorise his own oeuvre, but provide a great introduction to the uninitiated. Body part illustrations first appeared on brown envelopes in "Unveil Self-demon", which has since evolved into depictions of reaching (mechanical motion), unveiling (introspective feeling), and reflecting (revealing shadow). 'Touch the Love' is straightforward and a visual feast, as one staring at the beautifully drawn heart eventually notices the torso outlined behind it.

Touch the Love (2013)

This refreshing technique - using white lines to create contrast - was first seen in the portrait of a Chinese orchestra master. Then, a trompe-l'œil cicada was added to symbolise change and longevity; Now, the augmented bugs appropriate folk interpretations and anchor the picture in the present. One good example is seen in 'Seeing Beyond', where a body in fetal position is accompanied and mirrored by a grasshopper signifying birth. The shadows impose a self-projection, its emphasis on sense organs an overly general representation that is almost banal. Magnified bodies and cultural symbols in postmodern art are hitherto tiresome, but TC's earthy colours and simple juxtapositions, display a sincerity rooted to the ground. Furthermore, the artist is also following in the footsteps of his idols as educator, whereby 20% of sales will be donated to administer art education programs at his high school.

Seeing Beyond (2014)

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