“Depth”, now on show at Domain Art, is not your usual art exhibition. It is difficult to shoehorn the show into just one genre, be it photography, performance, or installation. It extends beyond its immediate subject matter of depth to tie in diverging topics, be it political (like photos of Fukushima before the recent nuclear disaster) or the personal (with a sprawl of personal effects in the front window).
Stephen Black at his window work space
It’s an engaging show simply because of its lack of artifice. Objects are just there, self-evident and self-explanatory. The artist Stephen Black is at the gallery himself working in the front window, sometimes interacting with passersby, always happy to talk to gallery visitors on a personal level. The photos (appropriated from a diver shooting images for his job) a bear the accessible visual appeal and the direct eye of a 35mm camera, honest and unedited. The almost-abstract looking ones of ship textures underwater are the most charming, wearing their date-stamps proudly on their sleeves.
Kueys terrorising an old street map of Singapore
It’s an unfussy show, devoid of any obfuscating artspeak, but clean and rich in its stories of interpersonal relations that stretch across geography and time. It benefits from Black’s bank of experience; the artist has previously worked with names that your wouldn’t expect to go together in the same sentence, like Annie Liebowitz, Kazuo Ohno, and Stelarc, not to mention companies such as CNN, Fox, Cartoon Network, and Fuji TV.
Come this Sunday (10th April), the band 3how will also be playing at the gallery. The band will start at 2pm and will include Amith Narayan on guitar, Justin Bannister on electric piano, Siva Saravana on percussion, and Wilson Goh on vocals. It’ll be an improvisational performance with a genre-bending sound that blends folk, ambient, and blues music (among other influences). The band’s style and practice adds to the exhibition’s organic quality, spontaneous and surprising, yet undeniably authentic, as if art just happens and may be found at the most unexpected of times. One almost forgets that one’s in a gallery. For this viewer, that’s a good thing.
“Depth” will run until 10 April 2012 at Domain Art, 140 Hill Street #01-07, MICA Building. Opening hours are 11am – 7pm on Saturday, and 3how will be playing this Sunday from 2pm, with Wilson Goh joining the band at 6.30pm.