These days, it's rare to find artwork that can surprise me the same way Cristene's works have. I met her at the 2014 UOB Painting of the Year competition. When I saw her work, I initially thought I was looking at a painting, but after chatting with Christene, I learnt that it was in fact a work on paper.
When we started Chan Hampe Galleries, we embedded into our gallery mission a commitment to supporting Singapore's artists and the developing Singaporean arts sector. We have exhibited over 100 artists to date, where 70% of those artists have been Singaporean.
Cristene has had a very long career as an artist in Singapore, which is an exception to the rule. While she's under-represented in Singapore, she has been quietly going about her business for three decades with great success. One need only look at the number of institutional and private collections she has entered into over the years to understand.
She's one of the few artists in Singapore to own and manage her own studio press — a manual printmaking press she has affectionately named her "companion". Her press has been exclusively adjusted and finely calibrated to handle her hand-made templates, matrix plates, and odd-sized papers, producing her signature reticulate lines, rich textures, and layering.
At the Violet Hour is perhaps the work that intrigues me the most, especially when considering Cristene's artist statement:
"At the Violet Hour borrows from T.S Eliot's The Wasteland. It is more than a description of twilight and has been used by writers to refer to a time or moment of transition — when daily routine and ordinariness shifts and there is an unexplained anticipation of change, of possibilities."
These days, contemporary art collectors are looking for trust, longevity and authenticity, and Christine's artwork has stood the test of time by staying fresh, contemporary, and relevant.
Benjamin Hampe is the director of Chan Hampe Galleries, a gallery that cultivates and promotes contemporary visual arts of Singapore. Cristene Chang Hoie's works will be shown till 31 May.