Nature Abstracted

Our exhibition was reviewed in The New Sunday Times.

Lucien de Guise wrote about, our current exhibition, at the KLPac, in the New Sunday Times, November 16, 2008. In that review he put our works along side another on going exhibition of Australian contemporary aboriginal paintings, in town. This insightful positioning of different artists’ works, in a comparative manner, enriches the readers’ and viewers’ perspective of art. This hopefully may lead to a better understanding of the what some artists may be trying to do in their artworks.

It didn’t occur to me before that my recent abstract paintings has an uncunning similarity to some of the Australian artists’ abstract visual constructions. The indigenous artists are naturally gifted in many ways and they have been making paintings with dots and lines in Australia for millions of years. The Australian motifs and designs is also different from those, from in other earlier cave artists’ works, found in other parts of the ancient world. They are truly our artistic fore fathers.

There are many theories as to what these different marks and shapes may mean, but the real meaning, in my view, is hard to get at, unless it is from the artists. What we are left with, in front of one of these artworks, is just our own terms of reference based on our memory and comprehension of things around us. In the end it may be just about intuiting the quality, intensity and inventiveness of lines, shapes and colours of the artist.

In the past few days, while manning the exhibition, we have come across, from the visitors, so many different ways of seeing our artworks and some of their views are a surprise to us. Intrepreting what we see is such fun and abstracting our physical and metaphysical world remains the preoccuping task of many of us and it will be so for many years to come. Enjoy the abstractions.

Abstract Painting: Two Ways of Seeing

Starmag, Sunday Star, Sunday 2 November 2008, feature written by Andrew Sia

KLPac, one view of the exhibition displaying  Numpueng’s paintings

KLPac another view of the exhibition displaying Victor’s paintings

Numpueng’s and my exhibition was put up yesterday. It will now be on display till 30 November, at the KLPac. It was not an easy task hanging 50 pictures on to the panels and the walls and also to make the hanging work together as two separate collections in the same space. We are happy that the paintings are finally out of our home and studio and will take on a new life of its own, at KLPac, for the next few weeks.

Andrew Sia, from the Sunday Star, last Sunday, gave us an in depth feature write up and it was such an impressive opening statement of our exhibition in the media and we hope his readers will be moved to come to visit and look at the paintings and find all sorts of visual surprises of their own.

The difficult part of producing the art works, over the months or years, in the solitude of one’s own studio or in company of fellow artist, is part of the artist’s work. The next stage is to decide when to show the artworks outside the confines of one’s own studio. But the hardest job of the artist (to me at least) is to find the group of art audience, dealers or collectors who are interested in one’s style of paintings (if one keeps changing styles and subjects as is in my case). Why?

As an artist, I tell myself that I ought not to copy my own successes of my previous works but need to constantly find new ways of seeing and to take on fresh subjects out side of the mainstream of art. This show will be a test to measure how well I have conceived and executed the Pulau Perhentian project.

Numpueng, on the other hand, has latent artistic talent. She does not loose sleeps over questions like what, when and how to paint. Her paintings show a great deal of self confidence and creativity and humour. Our son, Seenum, has a point when he says that he likes his mother’s painting better then Daddy’s. ‘Daddy’s painting are just … drips’.

A Sea of Red

Painting No 2-3

Victor Chin, Pulau Perhentian No 38 (detail), 2006, acrylics on canvas, 120x85cm

This painting is a sea of semi-transparent red and dark paint marks that may suggest, like the other works in this series, the undersea marine life. If you have seen a school of fish swimming restlessly in the sea, you would have noticed their iridescence colours changes according to the angle they are swimming in and it also changes depending on the angle they are viewed.

This piece of work attempts to convey the agitated and tranquil moments of nature in the sea below. Of course, this picture is a static inanimate object and it requires that the viewer triggers their own imagination to see what the painter is trying to do here.

In the end, some observers may just be interested in the pleasure of looking at the painter’s unique use of lines, shapes, textures and colours and have their own different impression in mind. That is part of the unexpectedness of looking.

Recent paintings

Pulau Perhentian No25

Victor Chin, Pulau Perhentian No 25 (detail), 2005, acrylics on canvas, 85x120cm

This abstract image, filled with refracted yellow light of tropical waters, suggests a vibrant marine life surrounding the islands of the East Coast of Malaysia, where Pulau Perhentian, is just one of them. In this visual construction there are many different brush marks, lines and shapes, all pointing to the varieties of colourful fishes, sea shells, jelly fishes with their long tentacles etc.

One of the ways to enjoy this work, is to get really close to the surface of the painting and squinting your eye, gradually make out, from your our experience, some of your own memories of being in the undersea world. Your own recollection, will no doubt, add to the deeper pleasures of looking at a work of art like this one.

Could it be an oriental calm or turbulence or both? Its hard to tell.