Fann ZJ, 28-30 June 2013, INSTINC Gallery, Singapore
In our everyday life, we often fall into routines. Within our comfort zones, our surroundings become bland and the body is insulated from the environment through our headphones and mobile phones (think Candy Crush or K dramas). Be it at home, on the street, in the bus, or at the shopping mall, the wonder and anxiety of a new space is removed after constant exposure.
It often takes an outsider to remind us not to take the familiar for granted. Slice - the multi-layered spaces of Singapore does just that. Lisa Chandler through her two months residency with INSTINC, brings the familiar Singaporean manmade landscape into the foreground, jolting one out of their comfort zone. Hailing from New Zealand where the density, intensity and scale is a stark contrast to Singapore’s, Lisa brings our everyday transitional environment into focus.
On her second visit to Singapore (her first was several years back on transit for two days), Lisa was adamant on visiting Asia to seek inspiration in their cosmopolitan cities. The futuristic imagery of the Singapore skyline and the maze of underground pedestrian links linking malls to Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations proved to be the perfect setting for continuing Lisa’s interest in the urban and the appropriation of spaces.
Through her methodology of the Dérive, Lisa drifts through the different stratums of the city in an unplanned manner to document the heightened sensitivity to one’s surroundings.
Used to painting on larger scales, Lisa’s stint in Singapore saw her quickly adapting her working methods and style into the new spaces and hot, humid conditions (not to mention the bout of haze). Inspired by the layering of escalators in MRT Stations and shopping malls to move people efficiently and quickly, Lisa creates a series of crisscrossing angular compositions, which is seldom seen, in her previous works.
Reminiscent of architectural sections to depict spatial qualities and relationships, it captures the movement, pace and space that is all so familiar to commuters. These not so foreign spaces take on a new meaning and tranquility on canvas.
Inspired by INSTINC owner Shih Yun’s exploration and techniques on monochrome paintings, Slice sees Lisa exploring with a new found awareness of white space and the use of black paint in a less controlled manner in her representations. Depicting the movement and spatial focus of the eye, escalator steps begin to blur and drip as the lone figure arrives at his destination. The lone figure also takes on a new central role in Lisa’s paintings, as she roams about the city at different times while spaces are appropriated by different personas.
Time seems to pass faster in the urban landscape. Perhaps there are more distractions. Or perhaps there is just too much to do. Two months came and left and Lisa’s first residency came to an end. Lisa needs that little bit more. We will see her soon enough at the Affordable Art Fair in November 2013.
In the meanwhile, the next time you are on an escalator, pause to look around and immerse yourself in that multi-layered space.