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Showing posts from March, 2015

Like Someone In Love @ Lostgens'

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Moving on from an intuitive art-making approach to a rigorous execution of formal theory, chi too maintains his signature trait of sentimentalism, through the choice of medium and titles. Bubble wrap is commonly used to protect valuables like paintings, but in switching the utility of objects, a transformation of value is achieved. The nondescript plastic grid is utilised but its air pockets - the purpose of the item's manufacture - is punctured and filled with acrylic paint. Composition and narrative are forsaken in favour of illustrating theory, the chromatic designs made with reference to Josef Albers' Interaction of Colour. The contrary applies to pricing, which now becomes a quantitative assessment instead of a qualitative one, quoted at seventy cents per paint-filled air pocket.

Inconsistent fillings in the dots when viewed up close, presume a standard volume of injected paint, and are likely caused by the different chemical make up in paints of differing hues. This mec…

Ivan Lam: Twenty @ Wei-Ling Contemporary

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Threading a slippery path on the top floor, to view Ivan Lam’s sleek new creations under fluorescent lights, feels like experiencing the beginning of the end. Large eye-catching fare devoid of politics cater perfectly for the international art market, a place the gallery is focusing its attention on. The opening of this new space is accompanied by a hastily put-together survey, where works made before the artist’s gallery representation, are cramped into one fifth of the total floor area. Walking past glossy canvases, toy transportation, sans serif alphabets & numbers, a notorious vending machine, and equivocal artwork titles, a sense of fictitious materiality permeates the space. As Gina Fairley questions in her 2009 essay, “…has reality been thwarted by (Ivan) Lam’s hyper-saturated palette, fractured brushstrokes and ‘unreal’ perspective?”

Such catalogue essays help propagate the view of one masterful printmaker turned virtuoso painter, a thinking artist well versed in art hist…

Contemporary Propulsion – Influence and Evolution @ G13

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Repressed desire in Loh Bok Lai’s pair of women aside, Dasein graduates present humdrum paintings – personal metaphors and visual effects lack intellectual depth, while Hoo Kiew Hang’s ambitious take on Pop Art borders on irrelevance in this age of social media. Abstract forms by Kim Ng and Yim Yen Sum fare better, as one imagines Muji Lee’s corkboard constructs to be more impressive at a larger scale. Krystie Ng’s sewn fabric are clever and representative depictions, the tactile features of thread and pulled cloth reinforcing the sustained tension of women-related issues. Lilliputian figures on isolated islands stuck upon the gallery’s white walls, however, draws my attention back to the exhibition’s best works. Commenting on materialism via found objects is a common idea in contemporary art, yet Tiong Chai Heing’s latest output communicates something deeper.

Last seen at “1 CARES • 關懷!”, the barren landscape is now presented as fragments, where humans wander about in decaying island…

Maestro @ Galeri Petronas

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Corporate and private galleries join hands to promote one’s collected prints, while the other aims to draw in the crowds under its new Art for Everyone tagline, hashtags included. Significant Spanish artists are featured together with Western canon greats, while printmaking objects display insincere attempts at a museum-grade showing. Édouard Manet’s etched portrait of Edgar Allan Poe poses a wonderful greeting; Odilon Redon keeps the visitor refreshed midway through one’s visit, with a Symbolist depiction of the goddess Cybele as inspired by Gustave Flaubert. Flat graphics and optical art decorate the walls in between, with occasional showstoppers like Édouard Vuillard’s brilliant composition of an interior fireplace, and Sol Lewitt’s methodically random lines in a circle. 

Despite the heavy name-dropping, viewing prints by renowned artists do not help anyone in appreciating Western art movements. Impressionistic illustrations by Camille Pissarro fail to come to life without colour.…

Being Human @ White Box

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Despite the significant calibre of exhibiting artists, it is difficult to take huge paintings of human beings seriously, especially when the catalogue essay takes one pop-rock song as a reference point. For many working with the same motifs, the oversized portraits only panders to friendly collectors – one can imagine Kow Leong Kiang drawing the larger-than-life Ahmad Zakii Anwar holding a revolver, as an inside joke. Chong Siew Ying’s idyllic couple is meant to hang above a holiday villa settee, while the moody avatar by Zakii and Arif Fauzan’s hesitant women suit house owners looking for less cheery but more atmospheric pictures. Less discerning folks may opt for yet another heroic gesture by Bayu Utomo Radjikin, or the crude and awkwardly executed nude by Chong Ai Lei.

Representing the Fklub collective, Bayu talks about obscured countenance in an interview, “(…) while faces easily give up their tales, the body speaks in a different language”, but the true subject matter here is sc…