Daily Archives: June 3, 2007

“As Brutal As” by Genevieve Chua

Psychosis and nymphs

As Brutal As by Genevieve Chua

In this solo exhibition, local artist Genevieve Chua explores themes of psychological horror and sexuality through pencil drawings on paper. Her evocative interpretations of light, texture and details invoke viewers to rethink their perceptions and conjure new experiences.

(extracted from online blurp from farm.sg)


Drawings have that magical dimension. Because of it’s commoner position, it is both sympathetic, and privileged. On one hand, they are direct descendants of wild, ubiquitous doodles; on the other, they are meticulous records of mark making processes of the genius artist, a testament of draughtsmanship or expressive demeanour of a creative individual – master of mind, eye and hand coordination.



In the hands of Genevieve Chua, the pencil too, gives life to a drawing. The suggestion of a precarious world, fallen trees and ruptured tree roots; violence and possibly debauchery, two deep hidden ends of the human mind.The title of the exhibition, As Brutal As, no doubt leaves the viewer pondering, filling in the violence or serenity with one’s unique imagination. What got me thinking was whether the works were ‘as brutal as Goya’s disaster of war series’ or ‘as brutal as Tinkerbell gone mad after Peter Pan left her’. The space is well organised, with works spanning the wall and placed on plinths in the middle of the gallery and book shop. It perhaps hints at the psychosis or femininity, or the relationship of the former and latter before Freud thought otherwise.

On the surface, the works are daring, a release from the flight of fantasy bearing some similarities to Goya’s serious doodles or Max Ernst’s Surrealist concoction of bird-headed man. The works are mostly skillfully handled, with attention to tonal values, composition, contrapposto and proportion of the half hidden nymph-like nude that recurs in most of the drawings – decapitated, in pain, in provocative positions and so on. What really came on as unique, were the circular paper drawings, that seem to cast shadows, giving the work another dimension. It made the paper look less fragile, and the drawing more masculine.

Beneath the surface, the works may require psychoanalysis to unearth the artist’s reason for creation. “Mysterious, frightening and erotic” are some of the terms the artist used to describe the intimacy of ‘black’ graphite used. The potential for a larger scale, to really break boundaries of ‘manageable-sized drawings’ remain to be seen. The pull of the works are perhaps the manipulation of graphite on paper, the realism of form and textured matter and the white or black gaps that allow our own imaginations to fill. That daring ambiguity is perhaps the magical dimension that we need to see in more art today.


6.0 of 10 stars

La Liberia, 64A Queen St, enter from Bugis Village, next to the CD stall and fruits stall. above Japan Home sundry shop. Tues to Sun, 11 – 7pm. T: 63371346.

limited edition catalogue (50 copies) available at $10.

Further Links:

Asian Drawing portal, lifted from farm.sg website: http://www.startdrawing.org/home/

The artist’s website: http://www.genchua.com