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Monday, 15 January 2018

Off Centre

Maya Gallery kicks off 2018 with its first exhibition, inviting all artists and art lovers out of the city into unchartered walls – to appreciate local and regional artistry.

As part of Singapore Art Week (SAW), Off Centre opens on Monday, 15 January 2018 at Maya Gallery. Off Centre was born from reclaiming its location as being off the grid; literally away from the city centre. Curated by Pamela Ng, it signals the new direction for Maya Gallery: honing in on contemporary art with a nod to heritage and culture. The six artists share their diverse cultures from Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore across a variety of mediums, from ceramic sculpture to pinhole cameras, photography, ink and acrylics.

In Off Centre, Malaysian Hamidon Ahmed re-imagines traditional calligraphy in a dramatic dance of colour, with bold curves that are reminiscent of street art. Hamidon is the Founder and former President of the Perak Artist Association and is the Vice-President of the Alliance of Malaysian Artist Societies and Board Member of Perak Museum. His works are in the collections of the Royal Kedah Museum, Chief Minister Perak Gallery, Darul Ridzuan Museum, Perak Art Foundation, Perak Foundation, Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) and Terengganu Museum.

Korean Han A Ram is an award-winning Korean ceramicist from Daegu and her playful sculptures in Off Centre invite the viewer to contemplate the unpredictability and symbolism of water. In Water Flows & Still Water (2017), she heightens the pause between inception and completion to create a space for reflection. Everflow (2017) draws on the symbolism of water and books as knowledge to suggest that information read without reflection does not transition into wisdom. A Ram has 20 years of ceramic experience, which includes curating and teaching ceramic art in Yeungnam University for a decade. Her past exhibitions were in France, Japan and Korea.

Jeffrey Wandly has developed a distinct style and is fondly called the ”Building Whisperer” by collectors; his works reflect his sensitivities to the connections between people and their built environment. Sungei Road Thieves Market II (2017) captures the last operational day of the market in July 2017 where trade had no walls and grew community. This is a rare artwork where the energy and focus is not in the buildings; Jeffrey’s signature strokes are in the people and the market. By contrast, North Bridge Road III (2017) reflects the shifts in Jeffrey’s work since 2015 where the energy is literally exploding off the canvas and asking to be expressed on a larger canvas. In a more introspective work, Streets of Hoi An II, Vietnam (2017), is the intimate experience of a quiet side pedestrian walkway in Vietnam. Jeffrey has exhibited in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea and Hong Kong and given talks about his art and mentored young artists.

Indonesian Putu Bonuz was born in the tiny island of Nusa Penida of the southeast coast of Bali known for seaweed farming and fishing. His abstract works are a visual orchestra instinctively created from focusing on sound as a way of life. Bonuz loves creating his works in the dynamic environments of Sanur, just off Denpasar, where he can be inspired by the energy and rhythm of music, conversations, poetry and artistic performances. His deep love and pride for his birthplace sees him journeying frequently across the sea to the small island away from the mainland. All these inflections and points of contemplations are echoed in his lines, colours and composition. He has exhibited in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Karto has mastered the art of making handmade pinhole cameras, and is so familiar with the technology and materials that he does not need to plan or use complex mechanisms to create an effective pinhole camera. Every part of the pinhole camera is handcrafted and made unique by an experimentation in aesthetics and materials. Even though each camera is handcrafted from very basic tools, they have been exhibited in Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Singapore and collected by enthusiasts across Europe, Indonesia and Singapore. Over 40 years of professional photography experience, he has an intuitive sense of light. In Off Centre, Karto showcases his pinhole cameras together with enigmatic photographs taken with his handcrafted pinhole cameras. The photographs are suffused with emotions that make the moments in time seem at once immortal and transient.

Singaporean Mas Shaari sees the beauty in old places and discarded objects. When she first created her abstract pieces in 2015, she enjoyed the cathartic process, as it was a space where she could relinquish all control, let go, explore and feel happy and free to just be. She paints after her children sleep, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning and relishes this time to herself.  She feels joy when she breaks through her own restraint and starts to see the surprising form that has evolved. She created a new series for Off Centre featuring a personal record of 12 new works and her largest abstracts so far. This series, In My Heart sees a deepening of the inner landscape of emotions being expressed. The use of more painted white gives the other colours space and creates a sense of balance.

As more art spaces and galleries relocate, the lower visibility will be a new impetus for outreach. Maya Gallery invites art lovers and art collectors to venture Off Centre – out of the city and into unlikely spaces – to appreciate local and regional artistry. The exhibition is on from 15 January till 15 February 2018; 11am to 8pm daily.

Monday, 15 January 2018
7 – 10 pm
Maya Gallery
62 Ubi Road 1, #01-21 Oxley Bizhub 2

Exhibition duration: 15 January to 15 February 2018