The Star, 3 April 2006
Art and industrial material
by Lim Chia Ying

ARTIST Sabri Idrus is a man of few words, unassuming and unpretentious.
His innate thoughts are expressed through artworks conceptualised through passionate and contemporary ideas.

Sabri with his works titled 'Senjakan Berulang' (left) and 'Enggan Untuk Pulang.'

Sabri with his works titled ‘Senjakan Berulang’ (left) and ‘Enggan Untuk Pulang.’

His latest instalment is a testimony to a refreshing maturity that belies his age of 35.

This fourth solo exhibition is themed the ”Keroncong” series.

Instead of just using the proverbial canvas, the Kedah-born artist has experimented with glass, plastic, wax and epoxy resin for all his 15 artworks.

“My ‘Keroncong’ works are inspired by my previous series of ‘Bangau Oh Bangau’ (2005) and ‘Lorek-Lorek’ (2004).

“As opposed to just painting on canvas, I’m more into ‘creating’ my own surface, exploring glass and plastic this time around.

“Previously, I experimented with aluminium and zinc in my ‘Uncertainties’ series.

“In a way, images and subjects have become secondary to me; my utmost concern and challenge now is to use different industrial materials to present my works,” said Sabri.

“I’ve since replaced all my brushes and canvas with scrapes and hardware tools!”

All pieces are painted from inside out, which is akin to printmaking.

Sabri said this was intended to allow every piece take its own natural formations.

“When you paint on the front, you are deciding the course of the visuals. But when you paint from inside out, you only leave it to nature to determine the outcome for you.”

However, he said he does have a pre-conceived idea in mind on how the art should turn out.

Meticulousness and patience is the virtue here as Sabri creates the pieces by layers.

“Once the basic composition is done on a pre-cast module, another layer of pre-composition is laid on. After it is dry, the surface is reworked, where unnecessary blots in the artwork are removed.

“The composition is also cut to create distinct patterns. Another casting layer is then laid until the final result comes out as envisioned. This is usually by the 10th layer,” Sabri said.

For this series, chemistry played an important role.

“I needed to mix the colours using pigments and catalyst to harden the raw plastic which is in liquid form,” said the Fine Arts graduate from UiTM.

When asked about his series theme, Sabri said ”Keroncong” is actually a genre of music. He added that the music is a fusion of Portuguese, Javanese and Indian influences played usually with the sita, violin or tabla.

In fact, all of Sabri’s pieces are titled from song lyrics of Keroncong.

His favourite piece is called ”Dikala Kalbu.”

“Emotion is to me the most difficult thing to capture. It is my favourite because the piece really explains the process of Keroncong and takes one to another level of looking at paintings,” said Sabri.

Behind each framed piece are lights, which he said, when turned on, act as a source of vision.

“Without lights, you will get no vision or colour. For example, the sprinkled gold dust has optimum effect with the lights.”

Sabri’s works are currently exhibited at Wei-Ling Gallery in Brickfields. It will be showcased until April 19.
For details, call 03-2260 1106.