France + Singapore Photographic Arts Award. Photo: Alliance Francaise / Matthew G Johnson
If you are hankering for more than the magnificent bronze raindrops inspired kinetic sculpture and Avatarsque supertrees, here are five art picks that you must not miss this month. Spanning across various genres from large-scale oil paintings, photography and mixed media creations, there is something for everyone including peeps that are curious about trees painting trees.
Best for the wannabe paparazzi
France + Singapore Photographic Arts Award 2012 Finalists Exhibition
Curious about how a culture brandishing an arsenal of digital cameras and apps like Instagram tackle the notion of photographic works in an arts space? Heading down to the Societe Generale Gallery should give you a little glimpse into the future. The fourth edition of this popular annual visual arts competition cum exhibition celebrates the photographic works of 11 young artists from both nations.
Be it evocative straight-up travel reportage, abstract art photography, graffiti infused and mixed media inspired works, there is something for everyone who fancies the experimental nature of this wonderful medium. Highlights include the works of winner Tan Haur’s Global Eyes series, which mash travel photography and digital image wizardry to provoke dialogue about the increasing localization of globalization in Melbourne and Singapore. Other works worth checking out include French duo KA’a’s lively street art inspired works and Matthew G. Johnson’s Urban Tribal Dance collection of thought provoking photographs showcases the virtuosity of dancers and their alter egos in the same frame at unusual public spaces throughout Singapore.
Best for closet Darwin-inspired Indiana Jones' & Lara Crofts
The latest solo exhibition by young Filipino artist Geraldine Javier transforms the decade old gallery into an archaeological trove of natural curios. Showcased here is a stellar collection of 67 meticulous, pulp based mixed media creations, which incorporates various techniques like needlework, woodblock, lithography, the manipulation of preserved leaves and screen print.
Clockwise from left: 'Costaesomniumblattaria C', 'Ptolemy's Dog' and 'Four Seasons Four Ages'
The visually arresting works with liberal cameos from futuristic anatomical drawings of skeletons and insects (little wonder that the artist has a background in nursing). Seamlessly weaving botany and zoology, she questions the paradox of her role in this realm of art making as well as affirming man’s mastery over his known environment.
STPI’s chief printer Eitaro Ogawa quips, "The most important aspect of this project is the special touch of the human hand which is evident in this body of work and makes a significant difference."
A common chord in Javier’s work is also about engaging with the audience’s intellect. This is particularly embodied by the irony hued series of work entitled Four Seasons, where a symbolic representation of Death journeys through a life cycle, which eventually ebbs, to a messy clutter of decomposed bones.
Runs till Aug 11 at Singapore Tyler Print Institute, 41 Robertson Quay, 6336 3663.
Best for the painting aficionado
In recent years, the contemporary art scene has been dominated by genres such as video art, photography, sculptural installations and performance but the latest exhibitions in SAM propel us to re-evaluate the position of paintings in the current climate.
‘Seeker of Hope’ showcases the extensive oeuvre of 33-year-old Chinese artist Jia Aili, which are predominated by large scale oil paintings populated by masked figures, harsh landscapes, astronauts and severed heads, which, were accomplished without help from any assistants. Heavily indebted to traditional Western art ideas and techniques evident in romanticism and landscape paintings, he reframes these techniques while confronting the rapid transformations in his homeland. These marvelous works testify the struggles of age-old traditions in China as globalization and economical changes take center stage.
Jia Aili adds, “Being a child growing up in the 80s, I was pre-occupied with the imagery of a futuristic 21st century. It’s particularly interesting to use the rapidly changing city as a focal point of my works and observe how the boundaries between my childhood imagination and reality have blurred.”
Don’t miss out on this awesome exhibition which attempts to re-write the script on the relevance of painting in contemporary art.
Runs till September 23 at Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Rd., 6332 3222.
Eunice Lim's 'I'm Dear Colours'
Best for folks on a post-shisha wander
Located at the fringes of Arab Street, the minimalist 5footway atelier plays host to the works of emerging local artists: Zinkie Aw, Ivy Lee, Joe Chung, Johannah Fong and Eunice Lim. Curated by Lee Shuxian, a young artist and filmmaker, this visual art exhibition presents an array of contemporary art forms like photography and print works, which are injected by the budding artists’ personal and often bleakly humorous take on a culture that is obsessed with instant gratification.
Zinkie Aw’s digitally re-imagined photographs capture the essence of the trash that humankind produces while Ivy Lee’s effervescent print works are a catharsis to the pithy nature of visual stimuli such as gnomes and skulls.
Ivy Lee affirms, “My works reflect my aversion to the absurdity of the objects displayed. For example, the diamond skulls are a cheeky riposte on the value of Damien Hirst’s famous piece as well as the larger diamond industry.”
Runs till July 27 at 5footway. Atelier, 8 Aliwal St.
Best for the Pop Art dilettante
Face The Strange: Solo Exhibition by Olan Ventura
While the collection at show might not be as expansive in scope as South Korean artist Hyung Koo Kang’s The Burning Gaze exhibition at SAM last year, these hyper-realistic, acrylic diptychs of famous personalities by Pinoy artist Olan Ventura are most certainly worth a quick saunter for Pop Art dilettantes.
Basking in the limelight are the vividly detailed portraitures of Imelda Marcos, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, Chuck Close and Salvador Dali, next to their photo negativesque painting representations, which trigger questions about what constitutes imagery in our celebrity crazed culture.
Even if you are clueless about art appreciation, we are quite sure that you would be bowled over by the vibrant energy captured in the artistic renditions of these popular figures.
If you see a swarthy, bald dude in his early thirties clad in a dirty pair of skinnies pottering about in an art show, chances are high that you have spotted Patrick Benjamin. Say hello to him. He wouldn't mind dispensing a tale or two(including the odd 4D number tip) if you ply him with a drink or three. Besides a forte for storytelling, he is busy exploring ways to teleport.