Abstraction Now!

Abstract Expressionism is a movement which piloted several cathartic conceptions throughout art history. Despite Abstract Expressionism’s variety of styles, abstract artists share a common vision of depicting non-objective forms using different degrees of representation.

Abstraction Now! aims to shed light on the unique place that abstraction and the use of alternative media has had on the development of the practises of contemporary abstracts artists in Malaysia. While a lot of research and writing has been placed on abstract artists from earlier generations of Malaysian art, this exhibition aims to identify and define the country’s most progressive and important abstract artists working today.

Abstraction Now! highlights contemporary Malaysian artists who are pushing the boundaries of abstraction through their practice. This show aims to feature the works of artists who are exploring materiality, mark-making and form, with the intention of tracing the roots behind these movements in Malaysia, and how these are applied within the local contemporary context.

The curation investigates how various styles of abstraction are currently being adopted and translated into Malaysian artists’ practices; specifically identifying those who have been consistent and unwavering throughout their careers, while demonstrating a liberal stance towards experimenting with different media and method-making.

The exhibition features artists Annabell Ng, Choy Chun Wei, Hamidi Hadi, Sabri Idrus and Zulkifli Lee.

Abstraction Now! invites viewers to unfurl the rationale and impetus which enveloped their marks, textures and patterns, which have contributed in redefining abstraction today.

The showcase opens a window to discover the artists’ process of materialising their critical views and feelings towards different subjects that are relevant to present times, including identity, modernisation, and the paradox between humanity and nature.

Annabell Ng (b. 1982)

Her work explores the concept of time and life’s many phases and cycles – rendered as an external landscape in abstract form. She is deeply interested in the idea of ‘space’ in terms of where we exist and where we belong in the scheme of things.

Choy Chun Wei (b. 1973)

The artist deliberates, “We live in a World that depends so much on electricity – communication has become the forefront of our lives. It is all-encompassing, in the sense that it is simultaneously instantaneous and dependent. The painted (as well as collaged) screens are the central focus of the artwork, serving as both symbolic and literal “windows.

Within this medium’s bubble, I’m expressing the flux/tensions from the effects of my own daily experiences: at times feeling the loss of the human touch, and at other times grappling with this ‘demand’ to constantly connect.”

Hamidi Hadi (b. 1971)

These are small printworks culminating from several minute “implosions” which erupted inside the artist’s soul, created from a clash between ‘loudness’ and ‘insistence’ spurred by feelings of tranquility and deep missing. To the artist, these moments when all is quiet and calm is absolutely priceless. The process of printmaking here is seen as a way of traversing new realms – to look at abstraction through landscapes never seen before.

Sabri Idrus (b. 1971)

His work elucidate the legacy of Iram, the city of pillars, the story of the tribe of Ad, their way of life and the entire destruction of both city and tribe.

Dubbed “The Atlantis of the Sands”, the Ad tribe lived during the period after Noah, they built monuments on elevated places, at a location referred as Al-Aḥqāf (“the Sandy Plains,” or “the Wind-curved Sand-hills”).

“The Council” is the first of the many in this ‘Iram’ series.

In another work shown in Abstraction Now!, Sabri explains, “Mailboxes and post boxes are already amongst artifacts found in museums. Word craft, communicating feelings in handwritten words, exquisitely penned letters, blots of ink on scented and coloured papers, beautifully designed envelopes will just be memories of the past.

We are left with the dying art of penmanship, no more crosses to the t’s, dotting the i’s and discovering personalities through handwritings.”

Zulkifli Lee (b. 1978)

The artist examines paradoxical thoughts of ‘opposites’, akin to a magnet’s poles. He delves into themes of Nature, relationships, connections, beauty and harmony – celebrating and embracing life’s Yin and Yang and its many complexities.

Abstraction Now!‘ is featured at Wei-Ling Gallery from 5th May – 4th June 2022.

Wei-Ling Gallery is located at No 8, Jalan Scott, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Admission hours are Tuesday – Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm.

Exhibition is open by appointment only. For appointments and further assistance, please contact +60322601106 or e-mail siewboon@weiling-gallery.com