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Find Your Own Art Oasis Part I: Two Exhibitions

Waterfalls and melting dreams fascinated our writer, yen Phang. Check out two brilliant art exhibitions by Sundaram Tagore Gallery and Singapore emerging artist, Clayrene Chan

I had the pleasure of visiting Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Hong Kong late last year, a welcome respite from the bustle of the city on the streets below. Their exhibition at that time of abstract Arabic paintings was impetus for me to visit their branch in Singapore, where I was equally enchanted.

2. Sundaram Tagore Gallery HK
Sundaram Tagore Gallery in along Hollywood Road, Hong Kong.

Since my first encounter with Sundaram Tagore Gallery at Art Stage’s inaugural edition, they have been consistent in their curatorial direction. Always a standout and crowd-pleasing are the works of Hiroshi Senju, whose exquisite execution and ambitious scale never fails elicit visual awe.

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Hiroshi Senju, “Waterfall”, 2012, Natural pigments on Japanese mulberry paper, 63 13/16 x 76 5/16 x 1 3/16 inches

Another artist worth checking out in the Sundaram Tagore stable is Sohan Qadri. His images seduce the viewer into entering a space that transcends the physicality of art as object. The tactility and celebration of colour of his works combine to created an almost spiritual experience.

The larger, almost-scultural pieces by Nathan Slate Joseph act as the perfect counterpoint to Qadri’s works on paper; Joseph’s manipulation of his medium (pure pigment on galvanized steel) results in artefacts that are grounded by their materiality and demand attention by virtue of their sheer presence.

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Sohan Qadri, Adya V, 2010, Ink and dye on paper, 55 x 39 inches

Ricardo Mazal is yet another highlight. It is evident that Mazal is adroit with his brush, and his pieces show a sure-footedness of in his painterly intention.

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Ricardo Mazal, KORA MK4, 2010, Oil on linen, 33 x 33 inches

Be sure to check out these artists at Sundaram Tagore’s latest show, “Home and the World”, which just opened and will run til 10th March 2013.

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Not too far away, in the quickly gentrifying neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru, I chanced upon the work of Clayrene Chan at the French Bookshop. This is Chan’s first solo show since her graduation which I had covered previously here and it’s heartening to see our local young artists grab opportunities to exhibit their work.

Set within the comfy confines amongst bookshelves and cosy seating, Chan’s diminutively-scaled photographs pack a powerful pink-hued punch.

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Clayrene Chan, "Melting Dream", Print on Glossy Paper, 21.0 x 29.7 cm, 2012 (Photo Credit: Clayrene Chan)

Since leaving art school, Chan has collaborated with established local artist Boo Sze Yang, but here, Chan confronts the lens on her own with an unwavering self-assuredness, wrapped up in her own confection-couture that amounts to one-part whimsy and one-part satire, nestled within a quiet air of wistfulness and earnestness.

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Clayrene Chan, "Eating My Dream", Print on Glossy Paper, 21.0 x 29.7 cm, 2012 (Photo Credit: Clayrene Chan)

It is refreshing to see Chan follow-up on the practices of her forebears, namely Cindy Sherman, and update ideas within conceptual self-portraiture for a 21st Century audience who inhabit social media’s unending spiral of self-referentiality.

Both these shows provide solace in the fact that within the flow of city-living in Singapore, there lies quiet pockets where art resides, where we can find our own visual oasis. Do stay tuned for the next part of this series, where we will cover the inaugural exhibition of Michael Janssen Gallery.

For more information about Clayrene Chan, visit her website at http://www.chanclayrene.com/.

For more information on Sundaram Tagore Gallery, please visit, www.sundaramtagore.com. 01-05 Gillman Barracks, 5 Lock Road, Singapore 108933. “Home and the World” will run from January 18 – March 10, 2013.

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About YenPhang (35 Articles)
In spite of his legal training, Yen has chosen to pursue a career in the visual arts. Apart from being a closet-painter, Yen Phang is largely still an unknown quantity. Forever random, but always polite.
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