The work by Namiko Chan are familiar to few. Mention past year UOB painting of the year 2006 winner, you may get a few raised eyebrows. The body of work created is really a testament of the artist’s commitment to her craft, and acute portrayal of a single model, appearing possibly in all paintings and sketches in paint.
The silent dancer stands awkwardly, in many of the paintings. She appears to be almost unwilling in expression, or amateur in sitting for an artist. They are hardly poses we commonly associated dancers with. We commonly know dancers in art, through the works by Impressionists Degas, because they appear ever so often on postcards and trinkets from France. The stretch of the curved jendela space can be divided visually, and perhaps intently so, into two main parts: the considerably finished paintings, and the studies, marked by furious sketches of yellow paint on canvas. The former are grandly and dramatically lit, my favourite being the last horizontal painting with the dancers arms open, in a promenade. It is my favourite because the composition is enigmatic, letterbox sized to fit one’s peripheral vision like the cinema, and the grace it has above the other paintings. The latter resemble a cross between Cezanne-like, cubist distortion, some like Slade School style drawings or even still lifes. The display of these two give a fair idea of how the artist works, and conceptualises her work from sketch to finished painting. The artist is no doubt an accomplished painter, interested to paint more than what physical paint has to offer. She seems to be finding the gap between portraiture, and the concept of painting and allowing the sitter to find themselves through the deliberate imbued uneasiness the sitter is portrayed to convey.
It is a solo exhibition in two ways: one artist paints; one model exhibits herself, through these marveled paintings.
Show was at the Jendela Space from Jul 23 – 29, 2007