“Life is performance . . . fed and held in place, and eventually extinguished, by fundamental laws of chemistry and physics.” Tim Flannery, Here on Earth
Painting non-figuratively, means freedom to express thoughts with no longing for the ‘picture perfect’—just immediacy and originality. Thus far, my paintings reflected not only the real, but also spiritual and even the imagined—most of all I wish them to be seeds for conversations—about the environment in which we are all part of.
“. . . tipping points . . . for climate shifts are . . . like traps doors or ejector seats ready to jettison the climate into a different state—and we might not even know we’ve reached one until after we’ve passed it.” Melanie Lenart, Life in the Hothouse
Born and raised in Singapore, I lived and worked in Adelaide most of my adult life. Graduating from the University of South Australia with an honours degree in visual art, I have exhibited regularly in Adelaide, as well as having the opportunities to show my work in the ACT and Singapore. I was selected as a finalist in numerous art awards, including getting high commendations in the Waterhouse Natural Science Art prize and the Adelaide Park Lands Art Prize. I was also winner of the 2015 Watershed Art Prize.
These days painting sustains my studio practice—concept, process and materials are the rudimentary. Lately, the more I paint, the more I want my work to be a voice of my concern for our environment.
Putting a label on a work of art invariably limits an audience’s engagement with it to a narrow corridor—while resisting categorisation, I draw on experiences from within my own cultural heritage, and admire the discipline behind the poetic abandonment found in the practice of Chinese and Japanese ink and brush art. I also find joy in looking at the unschooled freshness of a child’s painting which requires no rationalisation. Artists whose creative output I like include Ian Fairweather, Joan Mitchell, Aida Tomescu, John Olsen and the Zhou Brothers (周氏兄弟). Citing influences can be at times problematic—for me, authenticity can only emerge from the trails of continuous practise and reflections, but always with humanity and nature in mind.
Painting, photography and text by Sum Woon Chow. All rights reserved.