Monday, March 31, 2014

Art Walk at the Wessex Village

Over the Weekend the artists at the Wessex village 14 of them had thrown open their doors to let us have a slice of their creative lives. For many this is their studio space and their living space. I will try to write about a few that caught my fancy as well as my limited time.

The first space we stopped was of Frances Alleblas. A Dutch artist from Rotterdam who has spent some time in Bali and Hawaii and has now made Singapore her home since 2002.Her work consists of charcoal and pencil drawings, prints and watercolours of different sizes. Her work has an elusive dream like quality and she seems to be drawing from different literary and allegorical associations and hence uses woven symbolism.  Personally loved her close crops of faces and the lovely layering done; almost a psychological study of the subject be it an animal or a character.

The next stop was walking into an art institution, the Inspri Fine Art, where father, mother and daughter all practice and sell the art they are comfortable with. Chin Oi Tow, an art teacher and a former art critic for The Straits Times, husband to the artist Chin Mui Siang, and father to the youngest artist at home, Chen Xing. The entire home has all their art spread out in different rooms. While Oi Tow’s work is more about portraits of personalities or animals, Mui Siang’s is beautiful water colours which she says she learnt from her husband. Chen Xiang is actually a Neuroscientist by profession who discovered she is ambidextrous, when she started doing her intricate urban structures. They do rely a lot on the Wessex art walk to get the awareness they need for their art. If you make an appointment with them you can actually visit them any time of the year.

Third stop was a nice colourful stop at Rasha Eleyan’s home. She is currently exploring the pernakan tiles in her own bold style. She also had miniature tile painting as the activity for her visitors. A great way, to engage kids. While my son did take an interest for a bit, he was then more interested in playing with her son Ali, who happened to be almost the same age. Rasha and I too found out that we were soon to exhibit together at an upcoming exhibition. More about that, in another, blog post. Stay tuned is all I can say now. Rasha uses the Wessex more as her living space and has a studio in Lower Delta. 

It was a pleasure stopping at my friend Joyce Loo’s space. Joyce is a ceramic artist and until recently ran the viridian Art House. Currently she is happy creating without having to worry about the hurdles of managing a gallery space. Her work especially just outside her home has an installation feel to it. Her latest work with wine bottles seemed such a practical idea for a gift too. Do check her work out especially her ant installation.

If you are looking for lively colourful art you need to check out Patricia Cabaleiro’s modern colourful abstract canvases. She is currently collaborating with the German artist Britta Hagemann and the merger of their interpretations has a slight psychedelic feel to it. 

D’ArtStudio houses the artist Chye’s work. His advertising background spills on the extensive huge scenes he plots on his canvas. The detailed scene of Chinatown and the down memory lane look at the festive scene there seems a little macabre in his black and white interpretation. His figurative work he told me comes from memory of working in advertising and the varied image bank he seems to have collected. The work that really caught my attention was the lovely curtain to separate the kitchen from the living/exhibiting area. We had a nice discussion of colour choices and what work he feels reflects the inner artist. I confessed being a little stuck with black grey and white with that splash of red. He laughed and pointed how he was doing the same. 

On the whole it seemed nice to walk in and see how other artists like myself were living in their homes and what they were doing to get their work noticed out there. I wish I had visited prior to the event and had a chance to write this for them as a pre-event coverage as they could surely use some advertising.
By the way if you are there, don’t miss the historic Colbar in the corner. The food is local and the cheapest option in the vicinity, and don’t miss their curries. Yes yes, we artist love our food. Do take a look at the images and if you need links to these artists just Google them. They all do have websites.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Thinker or Volatile Being

As I observe more artwork and artists in general, a thought comes to mind, the artist as a volatile person or the artist as a thinker.
I have had the good fortune to meet many established artists; they all are happy beings with a celebrative attitude towards their life and society. That having been said, their art is often of a different disposition from their behaviour. Yes their art is reflective and often a comment on society.
When one reads the Greek philosophers, one definitely understands that the artist is a recorder of their times. As Aristotle points out, there is a distinction between art and history. While history just records things as it happens, art has the liberty to depict in the universal character, hence art has an elevated role as compared to history.
Now with the above I think the responsibility on the artist is huge as they, then, according to Aristotle are elevated recorders. Then the question of personal biases would creep in and yet if one studies a period, we tend to see a general emergence and that probably constitutes the psyche of the times, be it in style or subject.
My personal understanding is that my preference is with the artist as a thinker or a philosopher who is almost removed from the subject to be fair to its depiction. I cannot find myself in empathy with an artist as a volatile person yet their art unable to express their state of mind. That seems to be an unresolved being. They need to meditate more on process and expression of their thoughts as an unresolved being, creates art the time period can’t identify with.
A thinker hence cannot find himself replicating his own work or anyone else’s as that has already been done and explored. The need to say it differently challenges the creative mind and hence gets the juices flowing. The constant mingling of thought and process is what gives birth to what we call “ART”. My vote is hence for artist as a thinker, where all the volatile thoughts are being expressed and not just implied in personality.