Encounter: Chen Wei, Maria Farrar, Hilmi Johandi, Zai Kuning, Guo-Liang Tan


Ota Fine Arts Singapore is delighted to present "Encounter", a group exhibition featuring five artists: Chen Wei, Maria Farrar, Hilmi Johandi, Zai Kuning and Guo-Liang Tan. The media in which the artworks featured in this exhibition are made spans from photography to sculpture, drawing and painting, reflecting the diversity of expressions of contemporary art in Asia today. Through this exhibition, we hope to present the encounters of the artists' which have become important elements in their practice.

Spiral Party (2018) by Chen Wei depicts a structure that appears to be a staircase of an unfinished building. As an artist living in Beijing, China, Chen continues to observe the rapidly-changing landscapes in the country, and his art making is influenced by his findings. Chen's works reveal the people's hope for a better life, in contrast with the reality that they face. Many of such construction projects may have taken off with a wishful thought, only to be halted in the middle of its process. Chen, however, manages to find and portray the beauty in such neglected places. The bubbles scattered around the structure and the peculiar hue of light that illuminates the structure add a fictional touch to the scene. Similarly, the works of London-based artist Maria Farrar typically depict everyday scenes on the street or in domestic spaces. Her latest pastel drawings are showcased in this exhibition, including Melon Pan (2021). In this drawing, the alluring display of bread attracts the viewer's attention, bringing about a tension between the act of display and desire. Farrar's compositions often feature cropped figures - here, half of a lady's figure on the left, the top of the head of a child at the bottom, and a leg coming into the frame from the right - seemingly guiding viewers to imagine the untold stories that could happen beyond the frame.

Guo-Liang Tan takes a more abstract approach. His recent paintings presented in this show feature a new technique that he has been exploring recently: using found synthetic textiles to create mono-printed impressions. Fragments of this fabric are unwoven, layered and sometimes erased to form abstract compositions that unfold slowly during the process of making. The translucent layers and mark-making in Tan's paintings highlight the affect of material surfaces and captures moments in time.

Zai Kuning presents 2 drawings that reflect his exploration about people in relation to their environment, in particular, the sea. In Menjengok Kemahuan (2015), a human figure sits atop a cage-like structure. According to the artist, who has spent many years researching about the Orang Laut, this illustrates how they catch fish for survival. The motifs drawn in red cinnabar create a sharp contrast against the black pools of ink depicting the sea. This series of drawings reveal Zai's profound exploration with the unique world of the indigenous people. Last but not least, Hilmi Johandi finds inspiration in the archival materials of Singapore such as postcards and posters from the 80's to 90's. He extracts motifs from these images and reconstructs different elements into a scene in his paintings. The work featured in this exhibition, Landscapes & Paradise VII (Poolscapes no.2) (2021), depicts a still moment at a pool side. Viewers will notice a small figure sitting under the traveler's tree, in contrast to the large silhouette of a person at the foreground of the painting. The different planes in the painting also hint towards a distortion in space and time, questioning the extent of truth in the motifs that appear to be part of a staged set.

Ota Fine Arts Singapore invites all to experience this wide diversity of expressions.

Installation Views