Showing posts from May, 2014

The Fine Art Of Fabrics @ Sasana Kijang (II)

Syed Ahmad Jamal's tutorship is apparent in Sivam Selvaratnam's early works, where geometrical shapes and grid arrangements display a formal approach. Nevertheless, Sivam quickly broke away from this tradition with hand-drawn curved lines, especially evident in her never-perfect squares and rectangles. Studies for 'The Message' denote an understanding of abstraction, as a view from behind an archway transforms into orange swirls in the final painting. A variety of exhibits from 1969 show wilful experimentations, one astonishing example being 'Floral Monochrome II', a delightful illustration etched onto aluminium foil for printmaking. Garbed on a mannequin is the "Malaysian Sunshine" design on cloth, first presented to the mayor of Manchester in her student days. Sivam Selvaratnam - Floral Monochrome II (1969) 'In Circles II' presents a square in the middle of four concentric circles, the artist's freehand imbuing a breezy quality

The Good Malaysian Woman: Ethnicity, Religion, Politics @ Black Box

A collaboration between a women's rights group and an art gallery, this exhibition aims "to get Malaysians to rethink how women's identities and lives are shaped by the pernicious combination of ethnicity, religion and politics." Good as a moral term means little, but to situate the argument within a local context interests me, notwithstanding the superb line up of participating artists. Most exhibited works are purposely made, although some artists' existing practice already illustrate the ambitious theme, such as the biting allegories by Shia Yih Yiing and inflated balloons by Cheng Yen Pheng . Few whom are not visual artists produce beguilingly political works, in particular the hijab-wearing photographer J. Redza, and activist/documentary maker Norhayati Kaprawi . 'Panas Betul' draws a voluptuous wanita berkemban fanning herself, recalling a traditional and natural dress sense disappearing in the face of religious moderation . Jasmine Kok - B

505·祭墨 The Worship @ 茨廠家鄉音館 Petaling Street Art House

Chinese ideograms continue to fascinate, with its flexibility of compound arrangements, and evolution from pictorial representation. To commemorate one year after the wishful watershed of GE13, Petaling Street Art House stages a unique display of calligraphy and performance art. Pang Heng Khan 彭庆勤 appropriates the Fulu 符箓, a Taoist talisman written on yellow paper that summons spirits for exorcism and protection purposes. Ascending the stairs, one is greeted by a mixture of mustiness and agarwood (?) scents, the space crowded with paraphernalia placed upon furniture salvaged from its historical surroundings. Scrolls hang from the ceiling and walls, while a central altar and incense sticks remind of a worship ceremony held earlier. A video loop of such rituals is projected behind for the curious observer; One is standing in the government-designated tourist area called Chinatown after all. KiniTV coverage of "505‧祭墨" exhibition Obscured from view are 'The

The Fine Art Of Fabrics @ Sasana Kijang (I)

Bank Negara's art gallery director Lucien De Guise observes , that "(i)n Malaysia, where textiles are the lifeblood of the nation’s creative heritage, textiles have an elevated position." This exhibition attempts to classify textiles as fine art, making reference to three established Malaysians whom also share mentor-student relationships. Exhibited at the entrance are formative examples of the represented artists - Syed Ahmad Jamal's geometrical forms, Sivam Selvaratnam's joyful designs, and Fatimah Chik's symmetrical batik chops. A major contributor to local art, Syed Ahmad successfully blurs the line between craftsman and artist, evident in the splendid vertical designs displayed. From University of Malaya's collection, the iconic 'Allah' utilises shimmering threads in its jawi calligraphy, set upon a harmonious stack of colour bands. Syed Ahmad Jamal - Tumpal (1975) In his efforts to craft a local identity which matured into the adage

Configuration @ G13

G13's annual showcase features a variety of artists exhibiting under the umbrella theme of figurative representations. Touted as a "curated project", three heroic poses on pedestals stand among the wall hangings, yet Mat Ali Mat Som's metal forms on canvas is the most visually interesting sculpture. Melancholic scenes by ethnic Chinese artists bore, although the uneven price tags make for interesting observation. One exception is Cheong Tuck Wai's depiction of children on a rocking horse, its peeling glue surface masking colourful impressionist strokes within its bleak background. Detached limbs by Liew Kwai Fei amuse, but more beguiling is his self-indulgent photobook about motion and time. Set to the artist's biographical experience, cut-out horses from a Malaysian race calendar make reference to the unsparing passing of the seasons, notwithstanding voyeuristic photographs of a foot in cast. Yeoh Choo Kuan - Brute Romance II (2014)  Aptly hung acr

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)