another incubation piece, and abundant news
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Feb. 18th, 2012 | 10:12 pm
News-wise, I'm now represented by Coatcheck Gallery. I'm so, so thankful to Jo for just taking care of all the having-to-write-blurbs-and-bio stuff. I find I can't talk about myself without subconsciously laughing over myself in a self-deprecating way. It's just too tempting *not* to make fun of myself. Somehow 'artist' is still burden-heavy with a rampage of ugly-pretension laundry-hangings I try and side-step, so I just go by student in the furthest metaphysical sense for now, thank you.
Which is the case that's hopefully not too evident with my recent Eyestrane interview. You know, being interviewed is like writing a stream of consciousness essay about my own work. I find my mind making connections to thesis-pieces I was working on that time
(in the case of the above, it was a Fun Home essay on the space of memory, labyrinths, corridors, minotaur-shadows, flexible space/time boundaries and how the architecture of the book can become a maze leading you into uncanny encounters with alternate selves... I'm ambitious, I know).
Anyhow, more news:
Here's the bio/blurb for the June/July show:
Watery Wombs: Memories of a Fetal Self (working title) is an ongoing series initiated in 2011 as a source of meditative catharsis. The collection of ink illustrations attempts an exploration into the nebulous spaces of memory and its origins. Floating ink-ridden pockets behave as conscious iterations of a hyperreality wherein compulsively recurring womb-like crevices and iconographic imagery meld together and mediate between finite and infinite. As personages, objects, and creatures are meticulously layered and grafted onto a personal mythical template, an alchemic map forms; accounting for every element of its cosmology. Watery Wombs: Memories of a Fetal Self is an ever expanding multi-volume ode to the emphasis of process, progress, and introspective action.
Aaaaand this is the show Jo, me and Justin Lassen are planning for 2013. Jo's (who is the director of the gallery I am represented by) going to try and help us get a grant to get it funded. Thank god...
Here's the space
"For my solo show in 2013, I want to create a mirror world full of faceless creatures with projections of my drawings superimposed upon them. A seemingly sterile desert of half-formed beings would transform into a shadowy realm of things-in-the-becoming when the lights are turned off.
I'm rather verbose today, haha.
Anyway, lastly I have a piece coming up in Discorder Magazine as well illustrating the movie Mina. FUnnily, my prof was just talking about the Rite of Spring ballet in class and actually seeing a clip of it is quite... sublime. So yeah, I enjoyed doing it.
Oh right. And it's break time or 'reading week'. No such thing here, though. School has a tendency to make sure that just about *everything* is due after break. Here is me going to recluse writing mode now to get work done. -_-. Ah well, I'll be going to the museum to draw with a friend, among other things so hopefully those little excursion-dates will keep me sane across midterm period...
Oh and lastly thought I'd share the little interview Jo did with me just so she could help me write the blurb/bio, haha. If you want even more thoughts on my process, here you go:
Where are you from? (This can be geographical, historical, or imaginary) Does this consideration of your origin play a role in your art, or the process of making art? How?
I am from Singapore geographically, although spiritually I have always considered myself the perpetual outsider. I have never fitted into any mold or structure by choice and out of an ability to do biologically or psychologically, haha. That being said, place is vital to the way I conceive worlds. A lot of my energy is invested in creating a mobile sense of place in which every feature has a personal significance or ‘aura’- although this ‘sense’ doesn’t have to aligned to logic, per se. Ever since I was young, I have been obsessed with creating a bubble-world- inextricable, perhaps, from the idea I could create myself in the process. Perhaps feeling like orphan-of-the-world plays a part in this (although a more fitting archetype would be the trickster cat-figure). I have never ‘identified’ in any group, gender, race, country or religion- in a way, I view my place as always in-between,a at thresholds, tip-toeing along the edges.
Tell me about your art process. Do the concepts form organically, or are they often inspired (and if so by what?)
Both. A lot of the time, my art springs forth organically from my hand. Other times, an image comes to me and I sketch it out- I’m not sure how that works. But that is sort of dependent on the seasons, weirdly. I also like building my images on top of other things that have already existed, such as skulls, mummies, dead things, old haunting figures I glimpse in paintings. In that sense, my technique is very collage-like, only drawings things out makes you much more meticulous. Other times, I just put my pencil to paper and see what springs forth.
Why is it that you choose to work often within the medium of ink and paper with the subject centralized in a cocoon-like way?
Ink and paper provides me a focalization point: I only have 3 elements to work with (black, white and lines) so I can concentrate fully on seeing my entity-child-thing come into form organically. It’s a bit like language, in the sense that I am given a few tools to work with and I have to make do with that. I have tried colour before, but I always feel this inexplicable gulf that I will never, ever be able to come even close to what I want to create, which is frustrating. It’s like falling into a senseless depth- because colour also makes you forget divisions of form. I’d like to find some kind of balance between surface, depth and form by working cross-medially (ie. Paper, scraped materials, drawings, or sculptures and projections). Not sure if this make sense
The sheer volume of your work is something to be noticed. It seems as though you produce an extremely large amount of work with tightly knit concepts and a similar aesthetic within a very short time frame. Is feedback from an audience (whether real, invisible, online) ever a motivating factor in the production of your work? If not, what is?
Hmm, feedback helps, but honestly I’ve made it a discipline thing. I think drawing is like an artisan’s craft- you need to keep at it, even if you’re dissatisfied with what you produce. Your body registers experiences better than you, so sometimes it’s letting that excess drip out. After awhile, if I forbid myself from drawing, it just makes me want to draw more and I end up compulsively heading for the pen and paper. Especially if there is a paper due. So I don’t think audience is the impetus, although it is a motivating factor. I’d probably be drawing as feverishly if noone saw my work, haha. A lot of it is that it provides me with a state of meditation, and I’m quite overwrought a lot of the time so I need that clear space in which it’s just me, the paper and some audio playing in the background.
What sort of ideas/concepts are you trying to explore in your art practice?
Memory, dreams, reality and the nebulous spaces in-between. I think I’m obsessed with crevices and womb-like spaces, haha. And err, very Plath-like imagery (I only noticed this recently when I started reading the Bell Jar again for class). A lot of it is trying to come up with a visual language or repository to draw from. Perhaps a sort of encyclopedic drive underlies it- who knows? But definitely, I let myself recycle ideas to see how things transform. I think for me, the process of growth (organic, often slow) is more important nowadays than conquering new ground in some distant land (although this happens when I’m hit by images that I have to draw out, but as I said, it doesn’t happen as often and most definitely not in Winter).
What do you hope to achieve with this particular series?
Well, initially I wanted to explore the nebulous spaces of memory- how it is constructed by constant cycling of the same binary but in different permutations. I think I’m still operating in that register, but on a less ‘traumatic’ note. Perhaps I want to map the spaces of memory, graft it onto some personal mythic template and then make an alchemic map of it to account for every element of its cosmology. I am ambitious like that.
Are there any other mediums that you are interested in working with in the future? To what extent and why?
I want to work more cross-medially in-between mediums. I definitely want to make more experimental books and book-artifacts. I also really, really want to make things with my hands organically- sculpture and the like. I’m obsessed with tactility and form, making things come to be. Perhaps it’s a Pygmalion impulse, only I’m more driven by process than perfection.