By Gaya Travel on August 27, 2013
The Gallery @ Star Hill in conjunction with 1MCAT 2013 holds a group exhibition of paintings, drawings, installation and sculptures. The event was launched by Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, Tourism Malaysia Chairman.
The title of the exhibition is Odysseys and the artists involved are Wong Perng Fey, Haffendi Anuar, Gan How Ming, Wong Wen Su, Diu Su Thao, Lee Choon Seng and Arikwibowo bin Amril. Odysseys considers journeying, a traditional form of acquiring knowledge by leaving the comfort of one’s surrounding to an unfamiliar environment as a choice taken by many artists at different points in their careers for varying reasons.
This exhibition aims to juxtapose the idea of mobility and stasis as processes and approaches that aid in the development of ones practice by displaying paintings, sculptures and drawings by artist that have traveled in recent years for education or personal reasons with artists that have remained in their perspective original locations.
The works display varying thematic focus such as social anxiety, the future of technology, the natural and the artificial and memory. Wong Perng Fey paints abstract and semi-abstract gestural works that documents the actions, decisions and mistakes that are presented to one when confronted with a blank canvas and tubes of paint.
His inner feelings and emotions serve as content and strategies aiding his gestures of ‘paint pushing’. He depicts vague objects that are emotionally charged in indefinite settings, in which coatings or paint and the impression of space are layered and complicate the reading of these dynamic pictures. Haffendi Anuar’s sculptures and paintings draw influences from theories on design, art history and the cotemporary discourse on the ‘art-object’.
His sculptures appears to be able to be flat-packed, easily transported with the addition of castors or are constructed in manageable sizes. This idea of movement and logistic efficiency echoes the design of many high-end consumer goods in which the products ability to morph its intended function or its easiness for logistics add to its exchange and ‘design’ values.
Gan How Ming’s intimate drawings are composed of cigarette ashes collected from ashtrays. His monochromatic textured pictures depict mundane scenes of the ‘everyday’ in which the appliances and objects become protagonist in sparse scenes. They are consciously made to be the size of handheld electronic gadgets thus evokes a sense of familiarity.
They are installed sensitively in the exhibition space, delicately positioned in place with a cardboard backing that objectivity the images into thin sculptural plates. Wong Wen Su’s abstract paintings convey a message of searching and loneliness. They are composed of organic and mechanical shapes that resonate abstract meaning like visual poetry.
After returning from Taiwan, he has valued traveling as a productive practice in which he is able to distance himself physically and emotionally from his subjects. During the past year, he has stated that his trips between his hometown in the south and the school in which he is teaching has allowed his to create a sense of detachment for him to analyze his family in a new context.
This distancing by physical exclusion of oneself from the studied subject allows him to deconstruct his relationship with his father. Diu Su Thao painting depict rural scenes and exteriors inhabited by house sparrows. Architectural elements and natural landscapes are depicted devoid of human but these scenes are highly populated by the sparrows in moments of plumage grooming or rest.
They become metaphors for freedom or escape in which embody a longing of the artist or the subject of focus to escape an undesired current situation. Lee Choon Seng paints paintings that mimic a certain type of propaganda imagery and resonate with street culture and urban subcultures.
His visual language is borrowed from variety of sources such as science-fiction films, mainstream media and graphic design in which he juxtaposes them with iconic scenes form popular culture and politics. General political statements on equality and human rights are illustrated in graphic poster-like paintings.
Choon Seng works exemplifies the easiness of the assimilation of Western popular culture into the visual language of artists in distant places. While moments in mainstream culture are documented and distributed and this fluidity of exchanges occur, there is a moral undertone in Choon Seng’s works that foreshadows and warms us on the slow erosion of our human morality standard. Arikwibowo bin Amril paints pictures that have moral connotations.
The main theme in his painting is the ‘cycle of the everyday life’. He states that society due to the being involved in the cycle of the everyday life that they tend to forget the importance of culture, the environment and ethics. He uses different symbols to convey didactic messages such as the sitting elephant, the female dancer and the Asian arowana fish.
These hopeful messages are similar to Choon Seng’s in which society must not forget on the value of culture as the country develops or the erosion of these values would be detrimental and hard to rebuild. To him, travelling to a new environment allows one to learn new skills and ways of looking, therefore returning home could be good start to apply what one has learned for the advantage of society. Odysseys runs from 19 Aug-15 Sept 2013