From 26 August to 17 September 2017, The New Now will be on view at Gajah Gallery, exhibiting a unique selection of works in various mediums by 7 emerging artists who recently graduated from respected art institutions.
Through a distinct and diverse practice, Benedict Yu, Charlotte Lim, Gabrielle Tolentino, Kayleigh Goh, Kuat Zhi Hooi, Leonard Wee, and Wong Jia Yi grapples with the common issues of coming of age as an artist; taking the leap towards practicing fine arts as a vocation. To each their own, they are expanding the boundaries of an artistic practice at the while maintaining a presence in an increasingly pluralistic environment.
At a period where socio-political issues seem to be the apparent norm in global contemporary art practices, and at a period where most seems to be looking out to the world and its grand narratives, these seven artists are instead looking into themselves and confronting their very existence in the society - one micro narrative at a time.
The exhibition hence aims to explore the way they present an abstract form of truth content - with references to the self, where they stand in society, and the space which surrounds them. It will also focus on the artist as a creator, their expressive minds, and the surroundings which nurture these minds.
Furthermore, The New Now will shed some light into how the uneventful and overlooked elements of the everyday were brought into visibility - expressing what is here, now, in all its banality, triviality, and monotony. They are a modest and sometimes ambiguous form of noticing and confronting the self, as opposed to just visually describing or depicting. Unnatural as it may seem for some, the subjects explored by these artists are familiar and relevant to many. We too perhaps, could discover some form of truth through reflecting on theirs.
Benedict Yu (b.1996) is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work explores the themes of Eastern philosophy, aesthetics, and psychology. He divides his time between Taipei and Singapore, and his art is evident of his exploration of cultural duality. The works presented in this exhibition deals with his contemplation on conventions and filial pressures imposed upon the youth, as well as his encounters with the overflow of information in today's society.
Figurative painter Charlotte Lim (b. 1998) explores the nuances of the human condition and interrelationships. Visible through her works are explorations of the human body, its ornate form, its placements, and its existence in a space shared among other matters. In her recent series she attempts to physically manifest individual solace and vulnerability as she switches from the traditional canvas to organza as a surface on which she paints.
Fresh out of the sculpture studio at LaSalle, Gabrielle Tolentino (b. 1993)'s works has shown an impressive manipulation of sculptural techniques, paired with a solid grip on the study of hyperrealism. Formerly trained as an animator, Gabrielle incorporates visual elements of animation into his figurative sculptures.
Kayleigh Goh (b. 1993) connects to the everyday physical environment through her artistic practice. In her most recent series, she experiments with cement, wood, and other industrial materials as her paint and canvas. Further, her works explores the merging of physical and conceptual elements in architectural spaces.
Malaysian artist Kuat Zhi Hooi (b.1995) focuses on exploring the role of language as well as calligraphy and its multiple values in society. His artistic practice connects his comprehension of identity and nationality as well as ethnicity, while at the same time re- assessing the self in relation to a culturally diverse surrounding.
Leonard Wee (b.1987) is an artist working mainly through the medium of painting. His interest lies within paintings that stem from memory and invention. The majority of his works are inspired by his day-to-day experiences with objects and scenarios. He relies on the unpredictable nature of painting to guide his work and to allow for disparate narrative to emerge.
Wong Jia Yi (b.1996) is an artist and printmaker who predominantly works with intaglio and silkscreen printing. She particularly focuses on copper as a medium, exploring the possibilities of how they physically change over time through encounters with nature. It is the material's individuality and unpredictability that draws her towards working with copper.
Press release courtesy Gajah Gallery.