a study in the psychology of pictorial representation
The recent of body of work is really a culmination of the piece, Delusion (‘splatter’), last shown at the National Museum of Singapore rotunda lobby, and his earlier painted, stretched vinyl canvas light boxes. The works can be divided into 4 categories: painted splatter on canvas, resembling Boo Sze Yang’s suggestive but blurred paintings; printed silkscreen splatter-shape on paper, framed; giant splatter shaped, laser-cut aluminum with cable lights; and vinyl light boxes with ‘air-brushed’ splatter.
While the fancy title is as illusionary, and seemingly a linguistical farce, it does question other issues, such as art and illusion, a study in the psychology of pictorial representation, as argued by renown art historian Sir E. H. Gombrich. There are examples of extreme pastiche in Chew’s body of work, that can best be described as mix and match, across 2 or more cultural divides.
For example, in the first category of work, resembling Singapore artist Boo Sze Yang’s suggestive but blurred paintings, obscuring the background with a distinct foreground. The blurred nebula background immediately suggest the possibility of the silhouette being a mecha, a short-form of the phrase “Mechanised Robot” in Japanese, from popular anime series.
The printed silkscreen splatter-shape on paper, could remind one of artist Bridget Riley’s op art like pattern paintings, difficult to pin down, but lifted ever so slightly from the surface to create an optical drop shadow.
The laser-cut aluminum with cable lights, could be a progression from minimalist traditions of American artists Donald Judd, or Dan Flavin, playing with industrial processes and readymades to produce a kind of ‘hybrid painting’ that is hung on the wall, negating the history of painting.
So unless one is ready to question the psychology of pictorial representation, playing with the thought that the splatter could be a super mecha from outer space, the success and critical position of the exhibition would remain a delusion.
5.0 of 10 stars
17 Jan – 2 Mar 08, Thu – Sun, Thu – Fri: 11am – 8.30pm & Sat – Sun: 10am – 8.30pm,Jendela (Visual Arts Space)
pictures declined to given for this review with sincere apologies.
silhouette |ˌsiloōˈet|nounthe dark shape and outline of someone or something visible against a lighter background, esp. in dim light.
• a representation of someone or something showing the shape and outline only, typically colored in solid black.
delusion |diˈloō zh ən|nounan idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder : the delusion of being watched.
• the action of deluding someone or the state of being deluded : what a capacity television has for delusion.