picture by picture, print by print, horizon by horizon
Artists often have an open-mind, and free approach to their craft and printmakers are no exception. Printmaking is a unique art form that is an umbrella term for many methods associated mark making and imprinting on paper. Panoramic Imprint is a small scale exhibition that packs many surprises, demonstrating the versatility and wonderment of printmaking. In this exhibition, there are a few conceptual and abstract pieces that provide some insight into the psychic of contemporary printmakers, revealing their concerns, attitudes and platitudes to contemporary life.
In Urich Lau’s Electro-somnia Interfaced (2012), we might hazard a guess that the ink dye-transfer gone wrong. The bubbles and fizziness resemble the unexpected technical mistakes of polaroid transfers eating the surface of the print. Or the smearing and halos resemble a microcosm of activity. Yet this decay of an image also possibly suggests different things: frustration with sleep; death; the death of an image.
In Seungah Lee’s S$100, 100 faces and 100 copyrights (2013) we can get a sense of how identity is usurped from the internet and used discriminately here: 100 faces are lifted, anonymised through half-tones and printed onto the surface of orange dots to suggest the unsolicited documentation of lives that many are perhaps unaware of. Print is used here perhaps to suggest the infinite reproducibility, or infringement of privacy caused by contemporary media if we are not careful with what and how our images are documented online and by whom. While the warning behind the work is noteworthy, the satire is also lost in silkscreen print process–the faces are inconspicuous to be of concern.
Colin Faulks’ Suspicious Persian (2013) is a tongue in cheek typography exercise that shows a weaved rug-like phrase:”If you see a suspicious persian”. However, concomitant with the artist’s bold ambivalent phrase is really a reflection of our own attitudes to persians, or foreigners. This perhaps suggests the unfair discrimination to persians the result of biased reportage or turn of recent terrorist-related events. It otherwise resonate with some Singaporean’s unconscious xenophobia, or tinted-lens patriotism. The phrase is afterall half-finished, and could well link to a second phrase:”be suspicious of your own observations”, challenging stereo-types and powers of observation and deduction.
With the establishment of Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI)1, one might imagine printmaking to take Singapore’s contemporary art scene by storm. But it has not, at least not that I’m aware of. But with more exhibitions like Panoramic Imprint, Singapore viewers might begin to appreciate prints for their abstract qualities, simplified and flattened forms; quirky inky collage qualities; richly textured surfaces; repeated concerns, attitudes and platitudes that reflects a new horizon in appreciation for art and life.
Panoramic Imprint by Printmaking Society Singapore
The Substation Gallery, 27 April – 5 May 2013
1Singapore Tyler Print Institute is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to fostering printmaking, papermaking and paper based art practice, collection and education