Volta NY 2016
Ivan Lam

Wei-Ling Gallery and Ivan Lam will be making their debut at Volta New York in March 2016! They will be the only gallery from South East Asia represented at the invitational fair and one of three galleries from Asia. This will be the gallery’s first showing of Malaysian art in New York.

VOLTA NY is the invitational fair of solo artist projects and is the American incarnation of the original Basel VOLTA show, which was founded in 2005 by three art dealers as a fair “by galleries, for galleries”.

Since its debut in New York in 2008, Artistic Director Amanda Coulson re-conceived the format as a rigorously curated, boutique event — along the lines of a sequence of intense studio visits versus a traditional trade show environment. Since then VOLTA NY showcases relevant contemporary art positions from emerging international artists, from cutting-edge trendsetters to next year’s rising stars.

Cutting the lines that bind
Ivan Lam

In Ivan Lam’s practice the concept of duality has been continuously present throughout his journey as an artist.

The push and pull between what is present and what is absent, between black and white, between the seen and unseen, between the past and the present, between what is said and what is meant, between male and female, between young and old, between love and hate, between conditional and unconditional love…..

In this body of work, he explores the generational gap between himself and his daughters, and in turn that which existed between himself and his parents, and them with theirs-the persistent and ironic void that exists between our very own ‘flesh and blood’. Something that in some way, we can all relate to on some level.

He also looks at the space between his daughters as human beings, although conceived from the same parents, the duality in their beings and their very existence.These are issues prevalent to all of us as human beings, who are capable of processing this idea of self.

He initially grappled with this idea through ‘merging’ the faces of his two daughters on a two dimensional surface, through the use of one inch stripes, where each daughter’s face is sliced and interspersed with the other’s, over 60 stripes. Almost in an attempt to do away with, and banish the gap that separates them.

Through a painstaking process, of painting each face with a variation of black and white tones, to differentiate, yet link them, he found himself starting the work with a strong emotional connection to the subject matter, yet ironically in the process of making the work, became somewhat detached from it, as the work started to ‘take over’.

Ivan Lam (b.1975)
Ivan Lam received his education in the United States obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Painting from the Maine College of Art in Portland. He has earned a reputation as one of Malaysia’s leading contemporary artists for his continuous ability to push the boundaries of his art practice. Unafraid to take risks and never content to lean on the familiar, he is constantly posing himself new challenges through experimentation with techniques and mediums in a bid to take his artworks to the next level. In so doing he has managed to reach greater and greater heights and each of his iconic artworks reflect a rare purity and honesty which are reflective in the works of artists who are answerable only to themselves.

Ivan Lam is predominantly categorized as a pop artist due to the use of multimedia in his work. Utilising a basic screen-print, he painstakingly layers color upon color of oil and/or acrylic paint on canvas so meticulously that the final product almost looks as if it was machine printed. Whatever the media, Lam masterfully manipulates each element such that every detail is significant and meaningful, never frivolous.

His use of startling colors, emphasis on composition, and tongue-in-cheek social commentary single him out as one of the most advanced pop artists in Malaysia. His works display a distinct combination of both local and foreign sensibilities.

Ivan Lam’s work has been exhibited world-wide and has featured at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s auctions. The winner of the 2003 Philip Morris Malaysian Art Award, he has a strong following of both local and foreign collectors and his works can be found in the collections of The National Art Gallery of Malaysia, Galeri Petronas, Catlin Re Collection and Merrill Lynch amongst many others. In May 2013, Ivan Lam’s participation in Art Basel Hong Kong with the exhibition COMA – Compendium of Malaysian Art marked the first time for a Malaysian artist to be presented on such an important platform. He is also the first and only Malaysian artist to have been commissioned by Louis Vuitton to create a painting for their collection.