11 September 2014

Seascape, Recent Paintings @ The Edge Galerie

As compared to one assertion that Latiff Mohidin's latest series of works emanates from two 1965 drawings, Johnni Wong's opinion is more germane. He writes, "(b)oth his parents were Minangkabau and to this day, Latiff is still enamoured with the Minang world view, which includes "the acceptance of the paradox of life". The Minang proverb alam terkembang menjadi guru helps sufficiently to apprehend Latiff's art, contrary to T.K. Sabapathy's ornate proposal to "rethink his entire painting practice and to weigh it chiefly and specifically as embodying landscape as a presiding idea or concept." "Seascape" features similar compositions of rocks jutting out to the sea, with a horizon in the distance. In an interview published in the catalogue, Latiff claims to portray silence in these pictures, which kitschy titles make reference to Chopin and Debussy compositions.

Interior Landscape 3 (2010)

Another exhibited series "New Landscape" is more brooding, as the artist forcefully depicts a personal amalgamation of alamraya and manusia, via oil paints. "Interior Landscape" sees puffy smoke and a boat image embedded within one room, an imagining of nature's presence in the studio's absence. Fleshy colours in 'Ancient Lake', and neon streaks in 'Memory of Stones', denote strong emotional recollections derived from serene observations. Another suite of paintings attempt to "...get into the rock forms, into their structure, into their content and make up." While no excuse is required for artists to launch into gestural abstraction, it is fortunate that these geological records culminate to formidable paintings like 'Rock Landscape' and 'The Rock'. Malaysian visitors get to appreciate many new works, as unsold pieces from the notorious Opera Gallery are displayed also.

Amber (2014)

Latiff remarks, "I used all techniques that I have developed in the past (...); I like to get closer to the grain, to the texture. But all of this is very restrained, not very expressive as in the Gelombang or the Rimba series." His painting output is powerful and occasionally experimental, but remains strictly confined by the boundaries of modern expressionism. Floating rocks resemble grotesque fingers, thick strokes of primary colours draw contrasts, black & blue drips & dots persist incessantly, and fluid colour blends create attractive abstract pictures about rock interiors. Sabapathy's high-flown essay states that "Latiff's seascapes are powerful testimonies of our perceptual connections with nature." Its six-figure price tags are also evidence that the rich can afford these missed perceptions. Indeed a paradox of life we need to accept.

The Rock (2014)

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