Malaysian artist Shiew Eng’s first solo exhibition Masquerade is showing at Singapore’s Mulan Gallery until May 22nd. It’s an unsettling exhibition of portraits which affectively reduces these composite images of children as to nothing more than – images. Non of the usual emotive qualities that we normally associate with portraits of children are present, instead these are sombre and ambivalent.
From the artist’s statement:
Handling photographs with delicate, calculated care, rendering them on canvas with layered nuances of colour, tonality, Shiew Eng produces some arresting portraits of pre-pubescent children. The ambiguous looks of children taken from candid photographs and painted with a garish light as though on large posters, are vaguely unsettling to look at and compel our contemplation. These paintings speak eloquently about our culture of passive seeing, the compulsions inscribed by gender and the more insidious perversions that exist. Shiew Eng’s ‘Masquerade’ is a meditated and thoughtful exercise and yet is at the same time filled with a quality of visual sensuality that promises delightful encounters for seers.
There are only a few days left to view the exhibition but I am hoping to see future efforts from this young artist.
‘Masquerade’ by Hii Shiew Eng
Mulan Gallery, Singapore
April 24-May 22 2010