In the heart of Singapore’s most commercial district, ION Orchard has surprisingly enough, always been extremely supportive of the local arts scene. We’re talking about ION Art Gallery of course, and for the last few days, they’ve been displaying the works of 22 local visual artists based around the theme of change and fluctuation.
Titled Waning, Waxing, any of these contemporary pieces would seem perfectly at home displayed in even national museums such as the Singapore Art Museum. From photography to illustration, mixed media to sculpture, each of these works tell a story and offer reflections on what it means to live in a place that’s constantly changing while finding one’s own sense of identity and place.
We picked five of our favourites from the 22 works to feature, but really, all of them are pretty thought provoking, so head on down yourself by tomorrow to check them out:
Priscilla Tey‘s Counting Sheep
Of all the 22 works, Priscilla Tey’s is the one that brings joy the moment you set eyes on it. Consisting of 10 drawings of whimsical sheep, Tey showcases her range of talents and knowledge in the various art styles and cheeky references she uses to portray these woolly creatures, at times shockingly anthropomorphic, and at others, simply adorable. Tey’s work feels incredibly marketable, and the illustrator’s debut picture book ‘In-Between Things’ is due to be released internationally in May, so look out for it when it gets published.
Michael Ee‘s The Boundaries of Form and His Four Sides
Born of an obsession with perfectionism and detail, Michael Ee’s arresting use of layers and colour transforms these plain canvases into what appear to be almost 3-dimensional lacquered tiles. These patterns are actually based off a computer code Michael had created at the time. The more you look at them, the more intricate the pattern becomes, and the work seems to insist you get up close, personal, and admire the sheer amount it effort it took to get each spiral just right. Somehow, there’s almost the physical sensation of a change in temperature as one’s eyes move from the deep blue core to the warmer shades of yellow, orange and red on the edges of the work, delivering a spectrum of emotion, and almost as if the universe itself were captured within these 8 canvases.
Michael also showcases his skills with His Four Sides, an abstract work where he rotated the canvas by 90 degrees every 15-30 minutes. His use of pastel background colours feels like a calm amidst the mayhem of the sharp shapes and bright colours used throughout the rest of the work. Whichever way you look at it, there’s always something new to discover, and through interpretation, one imagines it almost as if there is a sense of birth and life itself springing forth from the background and into the world. For a comparison, Michael also did a companion piece entitled “Her 4 Sides” (2013), and is available to view here.
Zu Orzu‘s Hidden Coordinates II
Highly reminiscent of master illustrators like Dave McKean, Zu Orzu’s Hidden Coordinates II displays startlingly powerful images of the human form captured in various poses. Each portrait becomes more fascinating as you observe her use of text, shape and colour around the figures, adding layers of emotional depth and mystery as one ponders over the hidden thoughts of these unknown subjects.
Yeo TzeQing‘s Remember
A reflection on mortality and how one might transcend decay itself, TzeQing’s Remember is great food for thought and consists of two parts – a video of a self-portrait sculpted from non-toxic paper clay as it slowly gets eaten away by a group of earthworms and larvae, transforming it into compost. As fearful as this image is, beside it, a live plant grows further on with the help of compost and a grow light, perhaps suggesting that even in death, one lives on in spirit in other, less obvious ways.
Vimal Kumar‘s Transcension
Transcension sees a group of photos depicting a Javanese Southern Sea Goddess ritual, with a devotee invoking her spirit and essence, losing himself in gaining her attributes. There’s a deeply spiritual sense that emanates from this piece, and one is compelled to think about the role of tradition and religion in our fast changing world, and how even when we’ve already worshipped at the altar of our phones, there’s a primal power that the old gods are still capable of invoking in our very souls.
Admittedly, most of the artworks at Waning, Waxing didn’t necessarily adhere to the overarching theme. Nonetheless, the diversity and variety of work shown here was interesting, to say the least, with so many promising young artists on the rise. Hopefully, their work continues to improve and garner the discerning gaze of more prominent members of the art world, because we truly think some of these works deserve better recognition in bigger galleries, long after this exhibition closes on 14th January.
Waning, Waxing is on at the ION Art Gallery till 14th January. Admission is free. For more information, visit their website here