Thirteen years of art practice has culminated with this first solo exhibition. Highly significant in the contemporary context, Umi baizurah Mahir or Umi(as she is known) boldly ventures beyond the well accepted practices of three-dimensional play. The artist eats, breathes and lives clay and has done since her student days as an undergraduate at UiTM. A ceramics major, she has been pushing the boundaries of this particular medium for more than a decade. Umi deals with clay in an avant-garde manner, pushing the boundaries by incorporation of a vast range of materials which she sensitively handles. Such intense handling has resulted in more sculptural works, ranging from installation, framed pieces, wall sculptures, stand-alone large works and even collaborative work with husband and fellow artist Ahmad Shukri Mohamed The clay medium has become a tool, wedged, kneaded and shaped to become exquisite pieces of contemporary art. Umi’s choice of materials include coloured clay, which has been intensively studied and developed.
In 2006, Umi was part of a two-man show, entitled, Toys at Wei-Ling Gallery. This solo marks a further development of the artist’s concern with toys and nature. Using a similar stance, the artist is still inclined to look at everyday objects and their form as symbols of life which reflect desire. Ideas derived from ready-made subject matter are altered to become her version of toys which are pictograms of the fast-paced society of today. Children are metaphorically represented as consumers reflecting culture, desire and demand. Umi uses puppets or ‘Boneka’ to reflect our exponential world today.
Pushing the boundaries of local art, it is a rare gift to view only three dimensional art works in an exhibition. It is all the more extraordinary to witness a single artist oeuvre, showcasing a diverse range in presentation. This highly significant show reflects the practice of Umi blending art and science into her work. As a ceramicist, her pertinence in her craft has been recognized in the far reaches of the region.
This solo exhibition debuts at Wei-Ling Gallery from 19 October – 11 November 2009.