Ian Woo is one of the most influential painters in the art scene of Singapore today. Woo's paintings reveal a range of processes which speculates the imaginary embodiment of fragments. Each painting contains stillness as if an instant moment is suspended, while painterly brush marks, shapes, layers and traces are developed to deliver illusionistic dynamism and velocity, suggesting a lively rhythm within a passage of time. With scrutiny and skepticism, he explores the possibilities of how spatial relationships within the pictorial plane can be provoked. Various elements in the language of paintings are employed and under Woo's careful deliberation, they collide, merge or overlap with each other, resulting in a 'spark' like clusters that coincide with another passion of his; the sonic interplay of free improvised music.
The evolvement of Woo's visual language has altered at different times of his artistic career. These range from minimal and monochrome explorations in space to a period of floating colored abstraction of scattered objects. It can also be found that the use of abstraction vary between geometric and biomorphic types. Though varied in its approach, all these methods are essentially centered on painting's representational and non-representational sides, as Woo states: "Every painting is intuitively built up between the will to realize some sort of mental abstract imagery and that of painting's negating position to offer something other than what I envision." With this basis, his paintings seek to question the viewers, inviting them to be part of the painting, tempting the observer in us with imaginary extensions.
This exhibition will present approximately 10 selected paintings from Ian Woo's recent works from 2012 to 2013. The line up of works emphasizes the materiality of paint and its shifting and transitioning attribution to form and space. This exhibition also introduces some new approaches in Woo's colour pallet where a return to the exploration of black and grey seen in his early works are employed. To him, the use of black as tone fluctuates between solidity and deep void, depending on the subject placed against it. This is evident in the painting "They Came In From The Sides", where the relation to "motion" is implied within a complete pictorial perimeter, just like how the frame functions in films and animated comic panel. In this painting, the edges of the pictorial plane encourage extended imaginary images beyond the border. In the situation of the advent of the "black frame", the shifting frame strengthens the reaction of contents to the edges of the picture plane. This piece not merely incorporates Woo's elements and marks in other works, but also plays an essential role in unfolding a new page of the ongoing axis of his paintings.
Born in Singapore in 1967, Ian Woo began his studies at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Singapore) in 1991. Between 1995 and 2006, he received a Masters in European Fine Art at the Winchester School of Art (U.K.) and a research practice DFA with RMIT University (Australia). His recent solo shows include "Ian Woo, A Review 1995-2011" at Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (2011, Singapore) and "Flux Technicolour" at Watergate Gallery (2009, Seoul, Korea); recent group shows include "Island Vernacular" at Peninsula Art Gallery (2013, Plymouth, UK), "Panorama: Recent Art From Contemporary Asia" at Singapore Art Museum (2012, Singapore), "Encounter: The Royal Academy in Asia" at Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (2012, Singapore) and "Sovereign Asian Art Prize Exhibition" at The Rotunda, Exchange Square, Hong Kong. His works have been included in a number of major institutions such as Singapore Art Museum, Istana Singapore, The National Art Gallery Singapore, ABN AMRO, UBS and the Mint Museum of Craft + Design in the US. Ian Woo lives and works in Singapore and is currently Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore.
Tomio Koyama Gallery Singapore
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