Where the skin of paint comes alive
|Flux Technicolor by Ian Woo. Images with the kind permission of the artist.|
‘The title Flux Technicolour comes from a reference to the idea of a continuous presence of fluctuating changes in both colour and forms that affects the gravity of the paintings. I think about temperature and quality of light quite a lot when applying colours to a painting. I also have this fascination that the painting is an imaginary light box, where structure, substance, colour co-relate to become matter. I like to pretend that the painting is like a film still from some imaginary cinematic experience.” (artist’s statement)
Flux brings to mind “continuous change” or “the action or process of flowing or flowing out”. Imagine the beginning, a blank primed, pristine white canvas. Setup like a stage, colours straddle upon it like players on a stage, taking their places slowly in different scenes and acts. Stage light is cast in numerous configurations; some light the plants and flowers in a dazzling array of harmonious colours, like fireworks or lighting cue of a pop/rock concert. Where light is absent, they draw the stage into a deep, mysterious abyss. Embroiled within each canvas, are seemingly endless combinations of colours, mixed from four principal colours, and the use of white. The change on each stage/canvas is different, superseded by an untiring impossible landscape, and a near impossible to describe floating mass/object. Only when the impossible has taken shape in hours, days or months, it is given a name, an anchor to which description and forming can begin.
Take the above, The Curtain (2009) as an example. The fragmentation in this painting is obvious, deriding the need to succumb to content or subject matter. Containing instead, an emotional vividness and urgency like Wassily Kandinsky, or Jazz improvisation, two bold master strokes come bearing down on the surface – the yellow swoon, and the black veil (the curtain) that occupy the centre of the painting. Plant-like motifs pop up at the bottom fringe of the picture, along with twine-like, and drip-like marks that inhabit the stage. In an explosion of life, the curtains reveal nothing but “recognizable squiggles, dabs and washes form an eruption of pure brush marks”. But what is evident in this painting, and others, is a distinct sense of near and far – a stage or amphitheatre. This is possible with the plant motifs that bear minute clarity, and the broad strokes that move out of position and back again, in a blurry, smudged or smeared line. But these broad strokes, or “master strokes” are akin to those found in traditional Chinese Ink paintings, carrying much to give an impression of a space. The distinction between the minute clarity and blurry brushwork is what creates the sense of depth, along with the differential choice of colours in the background, and foreground.
The range of works seen here are significantly larger than those seen in The Thing It Saw (2008). Arranged in a far larger space than previously seen, the walls here gives each painting enough room to breath and grow. This is a sign that the artist is comfortable with his methodology, but unsatisfied by the arena and edge the smaller canvases play on one’s peripheral vision. The larger canvases are no doubt more substantial, filling the window of the artist’s vision more satisfactorily. And it is only by accepting this invitation to look carefully, one may see these wild, imaginative, playful landscapes of the mind.
7.0 of 10 stars
Fortune Cookie Projects
May 28 – June 20, 2009
39 Keppel Road, #02-04, Tanjong Pagar Distripark, S(089065), http://www.fortunecookieprojects.com.
Exhibition by largely Appointment.
A strange MTV on youtube, Coldplay’s Life in Technicolor.