Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jean Francois Millet Malaysianized ;)

Visited 'Malaysian Batik Masters' at KL Lifestyle Art Space @ Tropicana City Mall and something really caught my eye; one particular subject which belongs to Goh Kwan Chin entitled 'Sowing'.  I like his style of thick outlines that encapsulate his subjects in an almost surreal sort of animated fashion.  He made art seem so easy but I'm pretty sure his work is highly methodological.  At first introduction when going through his batik exhibits, I thought about Keith Haring.  Similar sort of animation and that same unmistakable thick ebony outline that almost intentionally grounds the entire artwork into its frame, afraid that it would otherwise escape with a life of its own.  But then on second thoughts, Goh's work brought memories of work by Jean-Francois Millet, the famed socialist artist from the acclaimed Barbizon school that originated realism in France during the 19th century.  The said particular painting was known as 'The Gleaners' (what contextual coincidence!) and you could compare them here:

All of Goh's work, like Millet feature 'peasants at hardwork'; the former portrayed much of a 'rural worker's life' whether it's in the paddy fields, the farm or rubber estate.  The work shows subjects bent over, hard at work - hard but peaceful life, unperturbed by the modernity nor technology that gave us much convenience but also robbed us of 'presence' when in close proximity with each other.  But of course, this interpretation and reference to Millet are solely mine and do not in any way represent the artist himself, nor the organiser.

Strange.  I kept calling him, he.  Truth be told, I don't really know if Goh Kwan Chin is a man or woman.  I tried googling but to no avail.  Indeed this artist deserves a lot more coverage that the first two links posted by KL Lifestyle.  How unfortunate.

Hmm.  I realized I do miss art movements a lot.  Anyway oh well, if you're interested in Malaysia's very own batik art gurus, you better catch the exhibition at Tropicana City Mall before Jan 15th :)

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