18 November 2014

Unicolour Or Black | Katak Rasa YES, is Simple Pie

Black & white marks local art during this year end, led by Minstrel Kuik's prize-winning drawing of ladies performing the Viennese Waltz on '16 Sept 1963'. The literally negative approach is seen also in Sabihis Pandi's diptych, among other attractive works like Chiang Lup Hong's 'Imaginary Landscape 1', and Azam Aris' caricatured crowd. Representational subjects form a contrast with the works hung on the organiser's walls - one awe-inspiring Ismail Zain digital collage, and a number of panoramic panels by Chin Kong Yee. Current and former prize winners show at "Catalysis", the Dasein graduates group's best work a powerful white triptych by Yeoh Choo Kuan. Many exhibits present figurative posturing, a sign of complacency that the college faculty should heed, in this current climate where pandering to collectors signifies the death of artistic creativity.

Sabihis Pandi - Ops Tersilap, Silap Mata (2014) [picture taken from Sabihis MD Pandi's Facebook page]

Research lecturer Pok Chong Boon creates a maze from newspaper strips at Wolo Hotel, as one with no regard of state-controlled media, strides straight through the imaginary veil to find dark reflections of prime ministers. More interesting is one white hanging jacket, and a flip through Andrew's PhD dissertation titled The Mind of the Everyday in Contemporary Fine Art and Zen Buddhist Practice. Another Dasein teacher Zac Lee paints fighting animals in his signature fluid style, but the monochromatic palette dampens the intended sardonicism, and the resulting images fail to impress. Downstairs, Shalini Ganendra displays selling works from a collector. A deliciously ironic painting of a cake by Shia Yih Yiing is complemented with a hanging nursery rhyme, while Yau Bee Ling's small depictions of family members are simple but heartfelt.

Yau Bee Ling's work at Shalini Ganendra Fine Art

Frog-inspired pictures provide more visual stimulation at Galeri Titikmerah, where Azeem Idzham supplements poetic prose beside his paintings to great effect. Black & white imbues an arcane quality into 'Pentas', and the smaller works fascinate with its relatively sparse but clearly drawn elements. Hollywood and Jack Kerouac references in Norberto Roldan's solo exhibition at Taksu prove dull, the monochromatic diptychs barely invoking nostalgia as compared to his wonderful assemblages also on display. Large self-portraits upstairs by Hisyamuddin Abdullah call into question, the role of this established gallery whose stable of young artists have been churning out increasingly big works, whilst exhibiting minimal artistic progress.

Azeem Idzham - Kotak Mati - Dongengan (2014)

One such artist is Fadilah Karim, who attempts to break the mould by blurring a lady's portrait in her triptych shown in "Suarasa 3". This approach takes after the isolated figures in Gan Tee Sheng's recent works, one artist also associated with Taksu. The UiTM graduates group show at Segaris Art Centre sees one clever construct representing the distracted urbanite. Technological preoccupations aside, Tengku Sabri Tengku Ibrahim's monotonous wooden sculptures, and Shahariah Roshdi's intricate installations, prove refreshing and modestly-scaled. Perhaps, one's visual contrast knob is turned to its maximum differential, in light of the colourful farce that is happening now at the National Visual Arts Gallery. High street fashion is paraded in KL museums, as artists retreat overseas to exhibit monochromatic woodcut prints, and black & white photographic diptychs.

Pok Chong Boon - Labeling Tags Attached to Clothing (2003)

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