5 compelling portraits from Art Stage Singapore 2016
'Han Solo' by Reybert Ramos
The artist: An alumnus of the Philippine High School for the Arts and a Fine Arts graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman, Reybert Ramos is also the art director of GMA Network, one of the largest media companies in the country. He'll be making his Art Stage Singapore debut.
The work: Showcased as an exhibition titled 'Interstices', 'Han Solo' isn't presented as how you know the well-loved character from the Star Wars films. It's part of the artist's works in recycling images from Hollywood and adding another layer of images to produce a collage, coupled with a painting of an object or symbol from the subject's fictional world. This allows the viewer to perceive the images through a looking glass of sorts. Experimenting with iconography and iconoclasm, Ramos seeks to call attention to the way film and television produce a persuasion through imagery, by reminding us that the images we see have been produced and disseminated by the media.
Reybert Ramos is represented by Galerie Stephanie.
'Night Rebel' by Ronald Ventura
The artist: Manila born and bred, Ventura's work often presents a complex layering of images and styles which range from hyperrealism and cartoons to graffiti. To him, layering represents the diversity that's present within the national identity of the Philippines.
The work: Unsettling, loud and jarring — that's Ventura's 'The Hunting Ground', which is a series of works on the artist's view of the apocalypse. By bringing together ancient and contemporary iconography from incomparable sources, it mirrors the notion that mankind is oblivious to colonisation. In his view, it's a realisation that our consciousness has been infiltrated by religious excesses, capitalism and consumption — in turn, suffocating any form of true spirituality that exists within.
Ronald Ventura is represented by Primo Marella Gallery.
Untitled by Shooshie Sulaiman
The artist: Muar native Shooshie Sulaiman lives and works in Kuala Lumpur, running 12, an exhibition and project space in Malaysia's capital. The Fine Art graduate has participated in regional and international fairs including Art Basel Art Unlimited sector, Gwangju Biennale, Singapore Biennale and Florence Biennale. Her works serve mainly as a personal reflection, drawing on her experiences, emotions and memories.
The work: The flesh coloured stick figures are set against Malay text, with this in particular questioning "Being together. Who?". A series touching on her feelings regarding rebirth and being alive, the artist explores the themes of existence, love and expression between people.
Shooshie Sulaiman is represented by Tomio Koyama.
'The Glint' by Ali Nurazmal Yusoff
The artist: One of Malaysia's most prominent Gen X artists, Ali Nurazmal Yusoff is known for his realist and abstract paintings which often mirror Malaysian identity and society. For Art Stage Singapore, he'll be debuting 'ReALISM', a set of three artworks showcased specially for the fair.
The work: One of his past works, 'The Glint' stands tall at six feet by five feet. Known to represent a turning point in his career, it heralded a new direction for the artist with his choice of colours. Formerly known for his reds and greens, this self-portrait opts for the sombre tones of grey and white. The black and grey layered tones accentuate the depth and atmosphere in this emotive piece.
Ali Nurazmal Yusoff is represented by Core Design Gallery.
'Sick and Tired of being Sick and Tired' by Felix Bacolor
The artist: A newbie to Art Stage, Felix Bacolor is a Studio Arts graduate from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. He's exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in his native country as well as Hong Kong and Malaysia.
The work: Ever seen Christ in hospital? He's been depicted in many different forms and situations, but never quite like this. Bacolor's Christ presents his mortal self lying in an installation atop a hospital bed in between life and death. From the commercialism the mannequin represents to the obvious religious connotations significant in the Philippines — where Roman Catholicism is the main religion — the artist asserts his work as a cry for help to emphasise that solutions lie in material mediation, and not in miracles.
Felix Bacolor is represented by Artinformal.
Art Stage Singapore will run from 21 to 24 January at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.