Another amazing art exhibition has recently opened at The Art Gallery Penang curated as usual by Ms Ee Lene Tan. Her vision, this time was to invite eight artists to produce artworks which are trendy, that is to say modern, up to date, and stylish, according to their own personal interpretation. This group exhibition features artworks by eight young yet experienced Malaysian artists, Alice Loo (Perak), Dr. Baharuddin Arus (Klang), Jeremy Lee (Kuala Lumpur), Koh Teng Huat (Penang), Maizul Affendy (Klang), Moses Khor (Penang), Soon Lai Wai (Penang) and Yew Souf (Penang). Below are some of my personal favourite pieces. However, there are plenty of other eye-catching artworks in the gallery and your favourites may be different!
Alice Loo’s Universal Face Series, was inspired by how man should live in harmony and peace with nature. She tried to convey this through these peaceful, comfortable-looking sculptures, in which she examines human facial features in an abstract way. In these works, there are no ethnicities and no discrimination. “They seem to be smiling, right?” she said.
Dr. HJ Baharudin Bin HJ MD Arus’s Harapan series was created before the recent election, during the turmoil of the previous government, and represents his dream of hope of new beginnings for all citizens of Malaysia yearning for peace and stability. The red symbolises good luck and good feng shui among the Chinese. The green celebrates the Malays as people of the land and yellow reflect the colour of Indian temples. Named Hope I, the harmony of the colours in the painting emphasizes this ethnic diversity in Malaysia.
Inspired by his recent trip to Ireland, Jeremy Lee decided to convey his experience of the scenic and rugged landscapes with a trendy abstract that uses “something extra, yet so elemental” in his painting, that can only be seen by those who have seen it up close. After he told me this story I felt I saw a different painting to the one I saw before. A good painter is a good story teller too?
Koh Teng Huat interpreted “trendy” in a different way, challenging himself to create his artwork using the less is more concept by scrubbing away some of his (impasto technique) oil paintings to create more serenity in his painting. As compared to his previous artworks, these ones certainly show less contrast, and however, offer a more pleasant aspect and emotion to the viewer. Inspired by his kampung-man experience, he aims to brings happiness through his paintings.
Moses Khor uses his skills in digital drawing using computer software to create paintings based on the Rorschach Inkblots theory, a psychological test often used to understand personality and emotional functional. Nostalgically he recalls the days when he would create these inkblots with water colour paint and folded paper as a child. Now they can be created with computer software. What else is more trendy than using a computer for art?
Soon Lai Wai is known for his Lotus flower series, inspired by the ones he grows at his house in Penang. For this exhibition he decided to create a different style of painting, more abstract, but still using the powerful and energetic brushstrokes he is known for. Harmonizing the colours of his paintings allows him to create different feelings for each of his paintings, ranging from a winter-based to a spring-like perspective. Lotus lovers can reflect on how a lotus might look under different conditions.
Yew Souf’s two sculptures of birds, made from metal materials such as cans, wire & forks assembled on driftwood, were inspired by his recent visit to Sasaran, Selangor. His message is that elements such as wood and metal are natural materials, and are suppose to bring no harm to environment. However once they’re moulded into an object, let’s say an axe, which can be used to chop down trees, then the elements are fighting each other, just as the people of the earth fight each other due to different belief systems, social status, perceptions and material wealth.
Group exhibitions are very different from solo exhibitions as they show you how a single theme, in this case Trendy Vibes, leads to different type of artworks when interpreted by different artists. This is enough to prove that each and everyone of us possess our own creativity to create things differently based on the same concept. Maybe this exhibition teaches us more than what we expected, and maybe, if I leave the details here, it will eventually lead you to the gallery.
Feel free to drop by at The Art Gallery, Bellisa Row, Penang (GPS coordinate: 5.432923, 100.309906) from 2PM to 5PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 22nd of November 2018. You may also contact Ee Lene, the gallerist, on +6012-604 1434 to book an appointment anytime of the day. These artworks, if you’re interested to buy, range in price from RM500 to RM5000.
By Winter H.