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A RIP IN THE FABRIC OF TIME : A VIRTUAL SOLO EXHIBITION BY NICHOLAS CHOONG
May 22, 2020

The Art People Gallery presents the beginning of a new art future – a virtual exhibition combining Virtual Reality Technology and digital platform on Artsteps and Artsy.

Virtual Exhibition
https://www.artsy.net/the-art-people-gallery  

Virtual Reality Room: artsteps.com – search “a rip in the fabric of time”
https://www.artsteps.com/view/5e9d29fcbea50a55463de4f7  

A Rip in the Fabric of Time is an ode to this peculiar and trying time in our shared collective history. It's both a blessing and a bane to be able to show, work, think and reside in this pandemic that has afflicted and swept the world today. On one hand this silence has given us all time to think about and work on things that appeal to our nature and inspire us as human beings. On the flip side, it has given us pause to reconcile and consolidate the fragility of our existence - making us look inwards for clarity and hope. 

And it is with these components and ideas that these works and subsequently, this show with The Art People Gallery - came to be. In the works, I was looking for ways to break out from my comfort zone and to learn about new forms of art and new ways of making artworks, and in doing so - seeing the world and the work through new lenses. It is in this new light that allows all my work henceforth to be viewed and experienced in a new perspective. A great deal of letting go and accepting things - as they are - have begun to take precedence in both the works, and in the show. 

Both the Membrane Series and the Terra Firma Series of works were not meant to please crowds - but to fulfil a deep yearning inside me as an artist - to create works that are emotionally, spiritually and physically resonant. This speaks to the curiosity in me. Often the voice within says things like, 'Hey, what would it look like if you used only 2 colors?' or 'Hey, what if you applied paint in a more mechanical way, what would that look like?' and so on. And these works did just that, to silence and regard that voice. That intuition. The work also aimed to push the boundaries of what I feel, what I know, think, and create - as an artist - based on the curations that we all impose upon ourselves as creatives. In our minds we file, sort and store away ideas, feelings, thoughts, fears and hopes about our work and it is through the work (and the work had become a bit of a spiritual practice for me) that these frameworks are exorcised and exercised.

“It is my greatest pleasure to be able to show these works in such a setting and I feel a humbling sense of gratitude to the gallery; TAPG - for putting this show together in such an amazing fashion. I do hope the work resonates with you, as it did for me, and I hope that you will be able to take away something of value in the course of viewing and experiencing the show” - Nicholas Choong

Membrane Series of works - Nicholas Choong
Acrylic on found materials on canvas / Acrylic on canvas

Fractal shapes / geometry and it's occurrences are found in nature and in the directly observable universe. These machinations are omnipresent and evolving, moving forward, unfolding on it's own accord. It observes very fundamental traits and laws. You can see it at work in flowers and plants, trees and branches, how cells multiply and amalgamate, in the birth and death of stars and planets, in the vibrations of sound waves and in quantum theory; how a particular atom or chemical compounds behave and interact with one another. Fractalization is embedded within nature's own program.

This body of work deals with these abstract and scientific thought processes. While the technique remains simple - assembling the materials and then painting over it with alternative painting tools like scrapers, squeegees etc. - The desire, motivation and energy demanded for exploration is a little more complex to define. There is an element of risk and destruction in the work. I must destroy things to allow other things to come into being. It's also necessary and crucial for me to be in that uncomfortable state of having to push forward into the unknown - believing that if I take the jump - there will be somebody there to catch me on the way down. And this is essentially what drives the work; a playful energy that is apparent in all living and inanimate things - Just wanting to Be - if only for a short period of time.

Terra Firma Series of works - Nicholas Choong
Oil on aluminium panels, 2020

The Terra Firma series of works are a welcome departure from last years' acrylic on canvas abstract works. I'm venturing into an unconventional and unknown territory right now. Terra Firma alludes to mother earth. For me, it's a way to be grounded in a particular practice and experimentation, as I believe that the only thing constant, is change. I'm embracing failure and find myself constantly being surprised by what consistency and determination can achieve. 

Textures fascinate me. Marks on the asphalt, paint peeling off the walls, lichen, stalagmites, water erosion, decay - These things are all part of the natural world. These marks are found everywhere in nature. The series celebrates nature by fusing materials in my studio like aluminium, steel, oil paint, turpentine, solvents and pigments: guided partly by me and You. Because you are the observer, and without you, there is no me. It's the same for light and dark, front and back, forwards and backwards.

While spontaneity and a playful spirit is required in the making of art, a mechanical element is present too. For some it may be the washing of brushes, stretching canvasses, mixing colors, acquiring reference pictures, researching etc. With these works, I'm bringing a mechanical element into the painting and creative process. It's a play. It's an act. It's a dance. Any art form is fundamentally about that. 

Works in Quarantine No. 10

 

A Rip in the Fabric of Time is Choong’s latest solo exhibition, held in conjunction with The Art People Gallery, and it invites viewers on a digital journey using virtual reality technology. The exhibition consists of two bodies of work, the Membrane and Terra Firma Series and will be shown as an immersive experience to viewers. Those that step into the virtual gallery will be able to explore and interact with the artwork in a 360 degree manner while listening to Choong’s commentary throughout. And if you need more details, just click on each piece for a further description.

For a totally new way of experiencing an art exhibition, make sure to check out A Rip in the Fabric of Time which goes live from 6th June to 6th July. Take a guided tour of the VR exhibition on Artsteps, and view it at leisure on Artsy. Log on to The Art People Gallery for more details.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Adept at drawing at an early age, Nicholas spent most of his childhood and teenage years drawing and painting in watercolors. As a youth, he was fortunate enough to be left alone by his parents - to his own devices, exploring creativity and curiosities which has led to his voracious appetite for making things of art and beauty.

In college, Nicholas studied the social sciences (psychology, philosophy, sociology), literature and loved maths - which has nothing to do with an art practice but which nevertheless informs his dialogue with his mediums and practices in his work today. After college he worked in the entertainment, media, events and post-production industries, picking up relative skills like photography, graphic design, video production/ editing, music and dance performance and music production which he has vigorously applied to his arts practice today. Not having had any formal arts education or training, Choong can be considered a self-taught artist.

Choong has always been guided by intuition, a calling from within to produce something as a form of expression. Experimentation is a very important influence in Choong's work and he is not afraid to try new, uncomfortable ways of doing things. The fact that change is inevitable is at the core of Choong's work ethic and he constantly challenges himself to create new forms of work and to push the boundaries of his comfort zone at all times. Thus, deriving the 2 aforementioned series of works in the show; Membrane and Terra Firma.

Having made these works over the past year, Choong has also drawn from his experiences as a resident artist at Sembilan Art Residency Programme in 2016 and from his 3 month artist residency stint at Rimbun Dahan in early 2018. Not one to rest on his laurels, Choong continues to work in acrylics, watercolors, ink, oil, appropriating found materials and producing works on surfaces as diverse as paper, canvas, aluminium, medium density fibreboards as well as on plywood. 

 


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