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Richard Koh Fine Art Singapore
Artspace @ Helutrans
39 Keppel Road #01-05
Tanjong Pagar Distripark, Singapore 089065   map * 
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Gentle Matter
by Richard Koh Fine Art Singapore
Location: Richard Koh Fine Art Singapore
Artist(s): GROUP SHOW
Date: 22 Jan - 22 Feb 2013

Curated by Brian Curtin, Gentle Matter introduces, for local contexts, as well as extending, critical understandings of craft for contemporary art practices. Sopheap Pich creates grids from a signature use of bamboo, rattan, burlap and earth pigments. A departure from the use of iconic imagery in reference to his childhood in Cambodia, Pich currently embraces the paradoxes and contradictions of an icon of modernism through explorations of relationships between formal autonomy and the encoded, while retaining autobiographical interest. Be Takerng Pattanopas’ disarmingly detailed and illusionistic sculptural landscapes suggest abstracted, metaphoric, versions of the interior of the human body and are influenced by Buddhist ideas of physical impermanence and change. Jakkai Siributr employs the materials and methods of textile design to disruptive effect. Engaging antagonisms between surface decoration, vernacular codes and political commentary, Jakkai weaves multiple references to debased local beliefs and the excesses of contemporary popular culture. Leang Seckon’s stitched paintings are comparable to Jakkai’s methods but his works are more resolutely tied to precedents in canonical painting, both as a form and as a means of excavating personal and collective memory. Tiffany Chung’s obsessively rendered collages deliberate on ideas of artificial nature, demanding interest in spite of a decorative and seductive appeal.

The title of this exhibition, Gentle Matter, points to both the qualities of the materials and methods that the artists mostly employ and the theoretical position of ‘craft’ for the contemporary context which arguably eschews craft’s typically subordinated but often radical histories. These histories are also skewed by the diverse interests, contexts and traditions that the artists here emerge from. Gentle Matter acknowledges and explores the terms of craft as it can, and continues to, register cultural and social shifts; and expand, change or retreat accordingly.

Image: © Tiffany Chung, Richard Koh Fine Art

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