Tactile at 8Q

touching hearts and minds of art educators

Tactile at 8Q

“Tactile brings together 13 works by young artists from five junior colleges, in a showcase that explores the fascinating notion of the tactile. The artworks in Tactile are about engaging the senses, through seeing, exploring and making. It is about getting excited over the play of light and reflection, the subtle textures of paper, fabric, rust, soot and other potential materials. The works centre  around the process of learning and understanding through art-making, the act that brings forth forms to ideas and concepts so that they can be communicated across time and space.” (exhibition text)

Far from being tacky, the exhibition Tactile brims with ideas that ruffle the sense of sight and touch. An exhibition that creams the best works from five junior colleges, these are tastefully arranged in 2 galleries, fitting a consistent curatorial decision that echo the characteristics of the works.The lower gallery 1.11 had works that dealt with weaving (narratives), fabric, staining, fashion and identity, while the upper gallery 2.11 responded to challenges of urbanesque and private spaces. Seen collectively, and holistically with the paraphernalia and events that accompany the exhibition, it sends a clear signal of the importance of an art education that engages meaningfully with materials. The element of craft, or ‘creating the object skillfully’ is important.

The maturity and level of sensitivity to the materials are remarkable. Angela Tan’s Red Desert would remind one of Rembrandt’s genre painting of a carcass of a cow, hanging. Like a carcass, this patchwork quilt-of-sorts is rich with textuality, and complexity of choice of coloured stitches. On careful inspection, what seem like reddish-brown silhouettes form faces and figures, staring out. What seemed like mindless threads, now seemed like desperate connectors between the scenes, eager to reconnect.  Zhao Wen Wen’s Transition hold similar awe, with thread weaved through slabs of concrete, forming an outline of shophouses and the trademark sloping roof, elongated louvred windows and five-foot-way. The cheery brightly coloured thread, in a spectrum resembling a rainbow do little to clear the air of ambiguity – these both symbolise the concrete foundation from which we built our future or the weight of heritage, a tombstone doomed to the past.

The exhibition is perhaps a chance to assess the role of the educator and the value of the visual arts, in a society driven by pragmatism often overshadowing the arts profession. 8Q, is slowly taking shape to honour it’s role, and building heritage as a test bed for fresh ideas, and young artists. What may be more revealing of the exhibition is the value that art has on the young artists and the young collaborators that toiled behind the scene, and perhaps the influence their powerful artworks will have on visitors. As this exhibition touches the hearts and minds of many, one should give explicit respect for the other educators that give, without holding back.


Exhibition micro-site: http://atactileshow.wordpress.com/

8Q, Singapore Art Museum
Nov 13, 2009 – Jan 10, 2010

Exhibition catalogues available.

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