Between Two Worlds
10.08 // 31.08 2021
All forms of art are abstract. Painting is the act of putting paint onto the surface of a canvas. Sometimes the marks may come together to summon a recognisable image, or the passages of colours may evoke an emotional response in the viewer. The content of any work, be it a performance, installation, video or sculpture, may be representational or not, but the act of presenting it in its differing form is, in essence, an act of abstraction. Abstraction in painting challenges viewers to review conventional perception and expand the horizons beyond the norms of representation. Armenian-American painter Arshile Gorky (1904-1948) said, “Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot see physically with his eyes.” Regardless of the twists and turns in global art trends, painting is an art form that never ceases to be relevant and continues to play a key role amongst the contemporary art community.
In Transition: Between Two Worlds features three artists of different generations known for working between modes of abstraction and figuration in painting, each with a unique visual vocabulary and aesthetic that well reflects the zeitgeist of contemporary life. The showcase, which features around 20 paintings, is on view at artcommune gallery from 10 to 31 August 2021.
Colour is a point of investigation for Choy Weng Yang and his paintings are characterised by several distinct phases of transition through impressionism, abstraction, colour interaction and abstract impressionism. Boo Sze Yang’s approach to paintings is distinctive in its loose, gestural technique and use of a restrained palette to create images that evoke moments of memories that reside in the in-between zone of the real and the utopia. Raymond Yap's work entails a reimagining of the environment, exploring the relationship of time and space, and how these elements excavate each other through lines, movement, and colour.
For these artists, the process of painting is intuitive and accidental in many ways. It is a journey without a destination; the artist delves deep into the unconscious, making discoveries by getting lost and allowing the process to dictate the outcome. Each painting is an encounter with the unforeseeable and a multitude of possibilities where imagination is the only horizon.
Choy Weng Yang (b. 1936, Singapore– ) is an artist, curator, art writer and art educator. As one of Singapore’s prominent second-generation artists, Choy’s work embodies a distinctive style of abstract expressionism and exploration of colours. He was part of the pioneering team at the National Museum Art Gallery in the 1970s, first as Head of Exhibition and Design and later as Curator of Art.
Choy studied painting at the Hornsey College of Art in London on a Ministry of Education scholarship and graduated in 1962 with a National Diploma of Art. In the following year, he enrolled in the University of London Institute of Education and received his post-graduate Art Teachers Certificate. In 1973, Choy was awarded a UNESCO Fellowship for the Creative Arts and toured USA extensively. He also experimented with environmental abstract sculpture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advance Visual Studies under the mentorship of Professor Gyorgy Kepes.
Choy Weng Yang, Exotic Orchids, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 76 x 101 cm
Choy's early works were arrangements of bands of colour to evoke the enigmatic visual qualities of colour interactions. Perpetually evolving, his works are characterised by a number of distinct phases of transition through Impressionism, Abstraction, Colour Interaction and Abstract Impressionism. Choy finds inspiration in the works of Monet, Cezanne, Mondrian and Albers.
Boo Sze Yang’s (b. 1965, Singapore– ) treats banal objects, modern architectural interiors and destructive scenes as metaphors for the human condition, transforming these into a symbol of contemporary life through his loose, gestural technique and use of a restrained palette to emphasise the materiality of paint. His recent series of paintings conjure a natural world gradually dissected and displaced by urban development. The monochromatic handling of linear structures resembling scaffoldings, partitions and platforms are created through the delicate process of pulling and pushing wet paints across the canvas using a squeegee. These imageries do not evoke real moments of memories but refers to a special, in-between zone of the real space and the utopia; a baffling place where reality and fantasy coexist.
Boo Sze Yang, The Edge of Shadows #4, 2020, Oil on linen, 100 x 80 cm
Boo Sze Yang received his Master’s in Arts Degree from Chelsea College of Art & Design, the University of the Arts London in 2004. He has been the subject of many solo exhibitions at AC43 Gallery, Singapore; iPRECIATION, Singapore; Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan; Art at St Francis, Melbourne, Australia; Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Galleries, Singapore; Red Mill Gallery, Vermont, USA; Utterly Art, Singapore; and Zandari, Seoul, South Korea.
He is a recipient for the Asian Artist Fellowship Award 2010/2011 sponsored by Freeman Foundation for residency at the Vermont Studio Center in USA, and the Distinguished Alumni Medal 2017 from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore.
In 2003, he was awarded the Juror’s Choice for the Philip Morris Singapore-ASEAN Art Award and in 2009, the Platinum Award, UOB Painting of the Year Competition. He is featured in the publication 100 Painters of Tomorrow published by Thames & Hudson in 2014.
His works are in the collections of the National Gallery, Singapore, the Singapore Istana Art Collection, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore, United Overseas Bank, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Simmons Simmons Contemporary Art Collection, Urban Redevelopment Authority Singapore and Yingu Art Mansion in Beijing.
Raymond Yap (b.1966, Malaysia) completed his postgraduate studies from the Royal Academy Schools in 2001. Since then, he has had notable showings at galleries both locally and abroad including The Agency Contemporary, London (2002, 2003); Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2005); Jendela, Esplanade, Singapore (2009); ION Art Gallery, Singapore (2014); National Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand (2014); Element Art Space, Singapore (2014, 2016, 2017); 1961 Projects, Singapore (2019, 2021). His most recent artist-in-residences were at the Light & Space Contemporary, Philippines in December 2013, and at Sangkring Art Project in 2010. He also curated in New Order, a NAFA Fine Art Programme staff exhibition in 2018, and Eyes to Think at Sangkring Art Space, Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 2010, as well as participated in numerous art projects organised by Silpakorn University in Bangkok, Thailand in recent years.
His work has been recognised by the Selina Cheneviere Fellowship (Major Award in Painting) from the Royal Academy Schools in 2001, Fenton Art Trust Prize & David Murray Travel Scholarship in 2000, and the Drawing Prize (Highly Commended) from the Wimbledon College of Art in 1998.
Currently a full-time lecturer at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Raymond's work questions the surface and spatial relations via drawing and painting mediums, immersing them until they become a single element. His multi-layered approach to creating a push and pull between positive and negative space, and reflecting positive and negative compositions seeks to expand the visual vocabulary and draw emphasis on the interchangeability of languages in art.
Raymond Yap, Float, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 102 x 76 cm
Date: 10 – 31 August 2021
Time: 12pm – 7pm daily
Venue: artcommune gallery