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Chan Kok Hooi Chong Siew Ying Rebecca Wilkinson Ahmad Zakii Anwar

… And we are back from Penang! We had a fantastic time working with a great team of artists on Art@Whiteaways for this year’s George Town Festival. Don’t forget that the show runs until 7 July 2013. So there’s still plenty of time to head up north to catch the exhibition before it comes down. For more pictures of the hang, click here! Otherwise, head over to our instagram for more zany shots of our travel and travail. 

Agus Baqul Purnomo, Sunrise 5, 2013 Acrylic on canvas, 200 x 180 cm Chong Siew Ying, Once Upon a Time 3, 2013 Charcoal on paper mounted on canvas, 66 x 66 cm Rebecca Wilkinson's Jalaini Abu Hassan, The Defeated Winner, 2013 Charcoal on paper, 183 x 152.5 cm Kow Leong Kiang, Untitled, 2013 Oil on linen, 150 x 90 cm Chan Kok Hooi, 50 Years of Sorrow, 2013 Acrylic on blue velvet, 76 x 99 cm

Georgetown Festival 2013 and VW Special Projects
proudly present

ART @ WHITEAWAYS is an exhibition that brings some of Malaysia’s most recognised contemporary artists to Georgetown Festival 2013. The setting for this public encounter is within the historic complex of The Whiteaways Arcade. Newly restored in 2011, The Whiteaways Arcade is a block of double storey pre-war building constructed in 1903. This redevelopment has repurposed its elegant colonial-style store fronts to house boutiques and F&B outlets, lifestyle specialty stores along with galleries and studios for creative productions.

This special presentation of works by Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Chan Kok Hooi, Chong Siew Ying, Jalaini Abu Hassan, Kow Leong Kiang and Rebecca Wilkinson brings together a diverse range of vision from the poetic to the political through their works across painting and drawing. They are by turns dramatic, contemplative, humorous, comical and expressive - exploring the many facets and complexities of Malaysian life. Included in this exciting showcase is a special feature on neighbouring Indonesian painter Agus Baqul Purnomo, who is well known and celebrated for his bold experimentation in graffiti aesthetic with Islamic calligraphy.


ART @ WHITEAWAYS 7 June - 7 July 2013

at The Whiteaways Arcade
Lebuh Pantai, 10300 Georgetown, Penang

Presented by VW Special Projects
Project Managed by OUR ArtProjects

Gan Siong King, Bodhisattva, 2013, Oil on wood panel, 98 x 96 cm Gan Siong King's Bodhisattva lying on the floor Gan Siong King, Domestic Winter Landscape, 2001, Oil on canvas, 53 x 70 cm

Domestic Winter Landscape and Bodhisattva bookend a decade of Gan Siong King’s painterly concerns. They speak of technical and conceptual development as much as continuity. Central to both paintings are a fascination for surface and detail, the tight cropping of pictorial subjects drawn from our everyday reality, and the removal of the immediate context and social reference. They also demonstrate painterly verve, a methodical application of an unsparing clinical brushwork serving up an, at times, calculated distantiating and alienating view of our surrounding. It may seem skeptical, but it is not necessarily cynical. For these works are also infused with great wit and tender humour.

The two paintings have also highlighted parallel, and at times, overlapping preoccupations. The first results from the need to respond to the discourse of Malaysian painting. If we look hard enough, we can make out from Domestic Winter Landscape that it depicts the accumulation of ice within a freezer compartment. The subject is in part inspired by Gan’s interest to redirect the exhortation and pressure placed on painters during the early 2000s to paint the Malaysian context. There is a slyness and ambiguity in his response to this discursive constraint, from which we can ask - is the treatment of an unremarkable corner of a home appliance as painting subject, a gentle mocking in the form of reductio ad absurdum of the parochial-ness of locality, where the inward turning gaze forces the artist towards the pointless and farcical? Or does it also allude to - in its attempt to reframe an overlooked aspect of the domestic into a sublime register of a glacial landscape - the broadening of possible aesthetic horizons that reenergise an exhausted post-colonial rhetoric and trope? 

The second departs from Gan’s mastery of the trompe-l’oeil. In fact the title, Boddhisattva, hints at the chimerical quality of painting that Gan seeks to confront, referencing the super-sentient emanation of the Buddha that facilitates enlightened knowledge and activity within our illusory world. The adamantine quality of the heart shape diamond - perhaps a reference to Mahayana Buddhism’s central tenet concerning the fluidity between form and emptiness found in the Heart Sutra - belies the material support, which is made out of wood. Deceitful as this veneer might be, Gan seems to suggests that the duplicity of form and material is not merely contingent upon the impermanent world of phenomenon, representation in art could bring into discussion the notion of the veritable. Here, the slippery borders between what is true and what is false is played out as the conceptual preoccupation of painting that Gan attempts to grapple with. Many would also have invested the work with some political overtones, yet Gan has seldom resorted to the glib and facile performance of social commentary.

Instead we can see in both paintings, an attempt to intimate the broader question about the weave of our participation in the web of transactions that form our economy, our politics, our relations, our livelihood. This sensing of the boundless and infinite, as potentially residing within the minutest detail of our ordinary lives, is also captured in a music video directed by Gan for electro-avant-pop band Furniture’s Jane Behind the Glass. The first half captures the patient and mindful process of assembling a handmade wooden camera before it transitions quite suddenly in the second half into a sweeping operatic montage of the history of photography. In these instances, the artist seems to recoup that space where a spark of thought and a way of seeing can set grounds for a sense of the monumental in our experience of the everyday.

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Occasionally, we trawl through our stockroom and take out some artworks, so that we can share them with you on a different viewing platform. Send us an email at contact [at] ourartprojects.com to enquire about sales.

Lui Medina, Down to Press, 2010, Metal leaf, graphite, silk on paper, 51 x 43 cm Lui Medina, Untitled (The Mystery of the Loss of Self), 2010, Imitation gold leaf, graphite, lace on paper, 61 x 51 cm

Writing on Filipino artist Lui Medina’s paintings, Trickie Lopa of Manila Art Blogger, notes: ‘Her works on paper incorporate circles and ovals, some quite blatantly so, others merely hint at these forms. Lui admits to an obsession with the round and ovoid, one acquired through repeated visits to London’s National Gallery while attending graduate classes at the Slade School of Art, ‘I would look at the Renaissance paintings not for their subjects, but for their shapes! The circle speaks to me of continuity, it has less finality.’

Appearing unfinished or perhaps even suggesting disintegration, Medina’s works on paper intimate the sensual and hands-on process of art making - allowing a composite of different materials, ranging from imitation gold leaf to embroidery lace, to sculpt out a topography of textures and contours. The application of flat, heavy and sombre colour to her circular form, creates spatial solidity as the recurrent motif in each work. Because of the size of her work, the viewer is invited to encounter the paintings in close proximity. Seen up-close, however, they seem frayed in the edges, incomplete, in disarray or unfinished. Everything that was set and concrete becomes a little uncertain, fluid and makeshift.  

First shown in her solo exhibition Raptus at Manila Contemporary in 2010, Medina’s Down to Press and Untitled (The Mystery of the Loss of Self) might allude to the religious concept of the ‘rapture’, filtering the emotional breadth of a Catholic iconographic expression into an abstract mode of spiritual sensation.  Yet at the same time, its metaphysical preponderances could be hinting at something more secular. The harnessing of the decorative into transcendental form, the directing of the intimacy of craft towards an expressive mind-scape, these are then also attentive studies of the transformative potential of materials - drawing inwards to make visible the processual rhythm of making. 

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Occasionally, we trawl through our stockroom and take out some artworks, so that we can share them with you on a different viewing platform. Send us an email at contact [at] ourartprojects.com to enquire about sales.

This stunning charcoal portrait of an Ah Pek by Ahmad Zakii Anwar is a little teaser of the good things to come. We’ll be heading up to Penang next month to undertake our next project Art@Whiteaways. Also included in this showcase of seven artists at the Whiteaways Arcade - presented by VW Special Projects - are Jalaini Abu Hassan, Chong Siew Ying, Kow Leong Kiang, Rebecca Wilkinson, Chan Kok Hooi and Agus Baqul Purnomo. See you next month at the George Town Festival 2013! More info on this exciting project soon.

Many thanks to our family, friends, artists, collectors, relatives, boyfriends, girlfriends, ex-housemates and many others for your wonderful support and for making last Saturday’s exhibition opening all so perfect!! For more opening pics of Shahril Nizam’s “In Between: Transitions and Dead Ends”, click here. And then click here for some installation shots. OUR ArtProjects would like to record our special thanks to Ng Seksan. 

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Press, publicity, reflection, review: Kakiseni blog featureBFMradio interview with Shahril NizamSharon Chin’s blog entryZedeck Siew’s blog entry; Khir Khalid’s blog entryShahril blogs about his experience; Rogue art’s blog mentionArt KL-itique’s review

Desire, 2012, Acrylic on polymer clay, epoxy, fabric, semi-precious stones & ceramics, 38 x 32 x 23 cm Beneath, 2012, Acrylic on mortar, epoxy & polymer clay, 54 x 38 x 19 cm Portrait with Gold & Red, 2008, Oil on canvas, 25.5 x 20.5 cm Drifters, 2013, Oil on canvas, 22.5 x 17.5 cm Pompadour I, 2012, Graphite, ink & acrylic on paper, 37.5 x 26.5 cm Players, 2012, Acrylic and ink on canvas, 25.5 x 20.5 cm Measure, 2012, Ink & graphite on paper, 29.7 x 42 cm Material, 2013, Oil on canvas, 25 x 46 cm


OUR ArtProjects
is excited to kick off its inaugural programme with Shahril Nizam's long awaited solo exhibition, In Between: Transitions & Dead Ends. This presentation of paintings, drawings and sculptural objects is the culmination of four long years of intuitive exploration. It traces the conceptual and technical processes that visualise Shahril’s deeply-held fascination for the human psyche and its mental continuum.

The breadth and depth of Shahril Nizam’s body of works range from evocative portraits that encapsulate the listless ennui and whimsicality of daily living to expressive depictions of free floating amorphous bodies dissolving into each other and their environment. These works, brought together, can be understood as attempts to describe the complex interactions that form our identities.

They project life as an unceasing process of transformation, as well as the trivial and everyday human experience of joy and suffering. In this manner, art becomes a language that has the power to give our modern world and life meaning: from the pointless, the small, the secret to the forceful, effervescent and grandiose.

About the artist
Shahril Nizam Ahmad (b. 1979) is currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He studied fine art at the Kuala Lumpur College of Art and the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia. His work has been exhibited in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Yogyakarta and featured in periodicals such as KLue, August Man, and Esquire Malaysia.

He has illustrated for books such as Malay Sketches (a collection of short stories) by Alfian Sa’at, Malaysian Politicians Say The Darndest Things Vol. 1 by Amir Muhammad, Heart & Soul by Bibsy Soenharjo and Malaysian & German Folk Tales and Legends. Shahril Nizam is also known to have dabbled in poetry, showing admiration for the works of W.H. Auden and C.P. Cavafy and has published a book of poetry and illustrations titled If Only. His poems have also appeared in Readings from Readings 2, TAUTAN, and Kuala Lumpur-Berlin, Kisah Dua Bandaraya.

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IN BETWEEN: TRANSITIONS & DEAD ENDS – a solo exhibition by Shahril Nizam runs from 20 April - 5 May 2013 at:

67 TEMPINIS GALLERY - No. 67, Jalan Tempinis Satu, Lucky Garden, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur

Viewing times: Monday – Saturday 12 – 6 pm; Sunday, by appointment only
To request for an e-catalogue, write to us at contact [at] ourartprojects.com

Sharon Chin’s WEEDS Rubberstamp Set will be hitting OUR shelves soon. This signed and numbered edition of 20 sets + 2 artist proofs is a take-home art-kit that contains 10 lovely rubber stamp designs of various weeds/rumpais that made their wily appearance last month in Sharon’s up-cycling of political party flags over at Merdekarya. Send us an email at contact [at] ourartprojects.com to book your own set. 

In Less Prosaic Terms

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We seat Shahril Nizam on the interview couch to find out a little bit more about the artist who has gained a steady and growing following in KL’s art community. Shahril takes us on a walkthrough of his thoughts on art-making as well as the art of walking. 

Read more

We attended a private viewing of paintings by Dato A Samad Said at Tempinis Gallery last Saturday, held in conjunction with a fundraising event for Persatuan Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) www.empowermalaysia.org. The night was also when we learned a new neologism from our national poet laureate. Catakserukin, is short for ‘cakap tak serupa bikin’, which can be translated as ‘one’s actions do not follow one’s words’. 

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