NEW GALLERY SPACE REFRAMES ITS MISSION WITH A CASUAL APPROACH TO ART JANUARY 30, 2017 BY QISHIN TARIQ
Choong’s KL In Pale Blue (acrylic on canvas, 2016). Photos: B Artistic Gallery
Reframing art is often the goal of group exhibits, breathing in new context by banding together artists with parallel ideas.
But for B Artistic Gallery (BAG for short) “reframing” used to be more literal.
Formerly known as B Artistic Frames and Gallery when it opened in the sleepy business enclave of Damansara Perdana in Petaling Jaya over 10 years ago, the change of name isn’t just a rebranding but a restarting for the business.
Gallery owner Satish Kumar, 29, was inspired by Sembilan, the Seremban-based art residency programme, and how it took in artists.
“I’m in the (art) framing line, I have the space, and I figured, I should help, too. It’s a win-win situation, and it’s satisfying to see the newcomer Malaysian (art) scene grow,” he says, though referring to the more conventional model of networking with artists and exhibiting them.
The idea to reframe the space began in 2012 after Satish took over the business from its previous owner.
“I worked in this shop after SPM, then took a break to go to uni,” reveals the mechanical engineering major. After Satish graduated, he took up the then-owner’s offer to carry on the mantle, as the owner was going abroad to live.
Ng’s Fight For Life II (acrylic on canvas, 2012).
The other catalyst was the snobbery of typical art galleries.
“In a gallery, you have a salesman in a suit, all serious, like ‘Sir, can I help you?’. Here we’re all just ‘bro’,” says Satish with a chuckle.
He feels “proper” galleries are intimidating for casual art enthusiasts, while curious onlookers often wander into frame shops and sometimes even pick up the commercial reproductions, which cost at most about RM500 a pop.
As if to punctuate the point, mid-interview, an elderly lady wanders into BAG to ask about the gallery’s wood flooring, and if she could get it for her home. Satish, struggling to keep a straight face, directs her to a nearby Home Depot.
Where B Artistic Frames and Gallery’s walls and floors were once crowded with frame samples, uncollected art pieces and commercial reproductions, BAG is now minimalist chic, completely bare, except for its debut exhibition Simula, and a wall of frame samples.
Mahzurah Shaari’s Alas - Alas Series I (acrylic on canvas, 2016).
Hushinaidi’s Another Dream (acrylic on canvas, 2017).
Part of Ajim Juxta's Tugu: Manusia (triptych) (acrylic on canvas, 2017).
In curator Stephen Menon’s typical fashion, Simula’s meaning is triple-fold: a Filipino word for “beginnings”, Bahasa Malaysia for “person who starts” (si mula) and shortened from English’s simulation, “to derive works that imitate the operations of real world processes”.
Through the exhibition, Satish aims to simulate a gallery atmosphere and it marks a new beginning for BAG.
The Simula group exhibition features nine artists, with figurative, abstract and impressionist works. The artists are Dr Hushinaidi Abdul Hamid, Ajim Juxta, Rizhar Arahim, Aziz Talha, Marisa R Ng, Nicholas Choong, Liu Cheng Hua and Mahzurah Shaari, plus film photographs by Satish himself.
The exhibition is also a debut for Mahzurah, 34, with her Alas-Alas series, which uses thick acrylic strokes to represent the movement and textures of plants.
The former debt collection agent drew her inspiration from her love of hiking, spending three months sketching plants she encountered along the trails and then another three months to convert it into an impressionist’s vision.
Meanwhile, architectural graduate Ajim’s Tugu series marks a departure from his focus on buildings and landscapes. For his piece at Simula, he goes for the figurative impact by way of a triptych of skulls.
“In Genesis, on the sixth day when God created humans, they were given the freedom to do good or bad. In order to leave a legacy, a tugu, we need to have the wisdom to make the right choices,” says the 33-year-old.
The senior artist of the group, Hushinaidi, 44, bases his paintings on his family. Working off memory rather than reference, his two works are in a pale hue, with semi-corporeal forms, reminiscent of a half-remembered dream.
“The moments I chose are those that happen time and again, like my kids growing up, waking up my daughter every day – these stick in the mind. But I don’t recall too much detail; memories are soft, I can’t remember the exact colours and shapes,” he shares.
Only a portion of the works are framed, reflecting the gallery’s approach to artistic freedom, from being frame-optional to setting one’s own price tags.
For the original article, please click on the link below :
Ajim Juxta co-founded Titik Merah with several fellow artists. – Photos by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 — Kuala Lumpur’s art enthusiasts are familiar with White Box and Black Box, two spaces at Publika that regularly host exhibitions, film screenings, workshops and other creative expressions. But did you know that there are more artistic hot spots within Publika? Specifically, it is home to eight art galleries, each with its distinctive focus and approach.
To the uninitiated, art galleries can come across as intimidating, perhaps even elitist and exclusive. If I don’t know art all that well, you may think to yourself, I probably shouldn’t even step in. Or if you’re not an art buyer or collector, is it worth your time visiting them?
Haris Rashid chatting with participants about his Humanimal series at Artemis Art
S. Jamal Al-Idrus introducing his gallery, Artemis Art
Publika has long been a favourite haunt of Kuala Lumpur’s art lovers
The Publika Art Walk, an initiative of MAP KL which manages White Box and Black Box, is meant to break down those inhibitions and is meant for everyone, whether you’re an art aficionado on the hunt for the next masterpiece or simply have an interest in the local art scene. After a successful debut in April, the second Art Walk took place earlier this month and was led by Mimie Baharuddin, the former Gallery Manager of HOM Art Trans, an independent artist-run space. In curating this walk, Mimie emphasised the unique direction and focus that each gallery takes.
Lot 21 & 22, Level G4, Block C5 Tel 03-6211 1891
Opens 11am-7pm, Tue-Sun; Mondays by appointment only
Owners S. Jamal Al-Idrus and his wife U.C. Loh built on their personal collection of works by artists from Yogyakarta and founded this gallery in 2011. Besides promoting contemporary Indonesian art, Artemis also serves as a platform to support young and emerging artists from South-east Asia and is one of just a handful of galleries in Kuala Lumpur that focuses on photography.
Galeri Chandan Lot 24 & 25, Level G4, Block C5 Tel 03-6201 5360 Opens 10am-7pm, Tue-Sun; closed Mon
Galeri Chandan actively promotes the works of Malaysian artists to the world
Named after Bukit Chandan, the seat of Perak’s arts, culture and heritage that dates back to the Malaccan Sultanate, this eight-year-old gallery serves as a space for local artists and collectives to showcase their works. The exhibits are often experimental and provocative of the senses, affording glimpses into the zeitgeist of the local art world, which the gallery is actively promoting through initiatives like the bi-annual Malaysian Emerging Artist Award and The Kembara Jiwa (Travelling Soul) project that aims to bring contemporary Malaysian art to the world. Galeri Chandan hosted its 100th show last November.
Pipal Fine Art
Lot 9, Level G4, Block C4 Tel 03- 6206 5111
Opens 10am-7pm, Tue-Sun; closed Mon
The late Datuk Ibrahim Hussein was one of Malaysia’s most respected artists who pioneered a medium he called “printage”, a combination of printing and collage. Up until two years ago, you could view his works at his eponymous museum in Langkawi but since its closing, his stunning criss-crossing linework pieces are only accessible through private collections. Or at Pipal Fine Art, previously known as Art Folio, which has two of his Untitled pieces (on loan from a private collector) on display until the end of the year.
Pipal Fine Art focuses on the works of senior and established artists
As Mimie pointed out, this is yet another reason for visiting an art gallery – to savour masterpieces that are otherwise not available for public viewing. For art students, there is also a small library of reference materials.
Pipal’s focus is on senior and established artists; besides Datuk Ibrahim, you can also see the works of luminaries such as Syed Ahmad Jamal, Rafiee Ghani, Khoo Sui Hoe and Hoe Say Yong.
Segaris Art Center Lot 8, Level G4, Block C4
Opens 10am-7pm, Tue-Sun; closed Mon
Local printmaker Poodien explaining his work that’s on display at Segaris Art Center
A visitor admiring local printmaker Poodien’s work at Segaris Art Center by UiTM
An extension of UiTM’s Faculty of Art and Design, Segaris mainly features the works of its alumni while also highlighting the best of contemporary local artists, from the cutting-edge to the historically significant. As its name suggests, Segaris is also a hub for art-related events including seminars, workshops, performances and fairs.
Art WeMe Contemporary Gallery Lot 3A & 5, Level G4, Block D2 Tel 03-6211 1269
Opens 10am-7pm, Mon-Sat; Sundays by appointment only
Sufei Liew of Art WeMe explaining the gallery’s direction
Established in 2008 under a different name, Art WeMe moved to Publika two years ago and continues to specialise in the works of contemporary artists — from the young and promising to mid-career and established names — both locally and from around Asia. WeMe also hosts artists from Mainland China for solo and group exhibitions.
Ruang Sementara @ Art Row Lot 56, Level G2, Block C3 Tel 012-303 4410
Opens 11am-8pm daily
Mimie Baharuddin founded Ruang Sementara, an arts management company and event space
The name says it all; this temporary space, founded by Mimie, has gathered several independent local artists for its final show (until September) titled “Behind The Seen” that allows visitors to delve deeper into the psyche behind the works. But more than just a venue, Ruang Sementara is actually an arts management company that provides artists with a comprehensive range of services, from exhibition planning to financial know-how.
Titik Merah Gallery @ Art Row Lot 53, Level G2, Block C3
Initially set up as a transient showcase, Titik Merah has instead found a firm footing at Publika’s Art Row, having been based here for two years now. Co-founded by three artists — Raja Azeem Idzham or Ajim Juxta, Adeputra and Latif Maulan — the cosy rectangular space is both a working studio for them and a showroom for their pieces as well as those of fellow artists they collaborate with or whose works they like. The latter includes an artist known as Blank Malaysia, who fuses a philosophical twist into his portraitures.
Besides the founders’ own works, Titik Merah Gallery also showcases those of other local artists
The Publika Art Walk was scheduled for an hour and it’s a quick jaunt to get from one gallery to the next, with most located on the same floor. It allowed even frequent visitors to Publika to become more familiar with the mall’s oft-confusing layout and know of its other tenants, besides the usual boutiques and F&B outlets.
Art lover and collector Azlynne Yuen, a lawyer, attended the first walk in April as well and found it to be an eye-opener. “Prior to that, I only knew about Art Walk but wasn’t aware that there are so many other art galleries at Publika,” she revealed. “This time around, they had some of the exhibiting artists around to speak to us, and I found that to be very interesting.”
Jane Ong, Gallery Assistant at Pipal Fine Art, in front of a piece by Datuk Ibrahim Hussein
For others, an important takeaway was to see that the local art community is a close-knit and friendly group that welcomes visitors, and is happy to answer questions about their work or the industry. Even if you don’t know much about art to begin with, you will come away with something. As freelance curator Sharmin Paramesvaran explained it: “When you look at a painting and you become curious about it, and you ask questions... then your art appreciation has already gone to another level. You’re looking at art beyond just seeing the visual.”