BON à TIRER: Original Prints by Chen Shitong, April Ng, Tan Seow Wei and Zhang Fuming
23 November – 9 December 2018
Bon á Tirer introduced our audience to the printmaking practices of four local artists, Chen Shitong, April Ng, Tan Seow Wei and Zhang Fuming. Bon á tirer, which in French means “good to pull” (or simply, “okay to print”), is a printmaker’s authorised trial proof that sets the approval for print and the quality to proceed for all other editions. With an exhibition title that embodies a playful reference to this professional term unique to the printmaker’s working process, the showcase was an eclectic mix of over 25 original prints by the four artists, including lithographs, woodcuts, collagraphs, etchings, mimeograph and silkscreen prints.
Beyond a mere presentation of works and concepts, the exhibition highlighted the respective artist’s printmaking approach, interest and technique, which is often multi-faceted and adventurous due to the wide range of techniques and surfaces available within the medium. The exhibition opened officially on 24 November, Saturday, with the artists in attendance.
This exhibition was part of Bras Basah Complex Galleries’ Joint Art Week—participated by 10 galleries in Bras Basah Complex and supported by The National Arts Council—and ran from 23 November to 3 December 2018.
Press & Other Information
About Chen Shitong
Chen Shitong (b. 1985) began his studies at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts where he majored in painting in 2003. He earned his BA in Fine Arts from Gold Smith College in partnership with Lasalle College of the Arts in 2013. Shitong’s work translates between painting and printmaking, with a particular interest in surface texture and human figures. His work often contemplates the meaning of man’s existence and the relation between nature and man-made objects.
Shitong won the NAFA Fine Art Award in the NAFA Wood Award Category in 2009. He was also awarded the Winston Oh Travel Award in 2012. His work was selected to participate in Spot Art 2012, the first ever juried based exhibition held for artists under the age of 30 in Singapore. In 2014, his work was showcased at LWH Gallery, Shanghai in a two-man exhibition, titled My Dreams our Hopes. He had also been commissioned for paintings and prints by Farrer Park Hospital and Rochor MRT Station for a group project initiated by LASALLE College of the Arts. His work was most recently exhibited in Shop Mix at Tamarind Institute Gallery, Albuquerque, USA.
For this show Shitong exhibited some of his latest series of lithographs which were created during a Printer Training Program in the US.
About April Ng Kiow Ngor
April Ng Kiow Ngor (b. 1963) studied at Nanyang Academy of Fine Art where she majored in Western Painting and took an elective in printmaking. She subsequently pursued a Master in Printmaking at the Slade School of Fine Arts, UK and has since adopted the medium for her artistic expression. April explores the concept of infusion with a sense of space, a process through which humans and other organisms become more aware of the relative positions of their own bodies and objects around them that are important for movement and orientation in the environment. Often, her expression centres on the overloading and numbing of the modern city dweller, and how living within a fast-paced urban ecosystem has deprived us of things we once believed to be permanently ours.
April’s works have been exhibited in numerous shows locally and internationally, including Portugal, Taiwan and the UK. Her first solo exhibition, organised by Stiftelsen 3.14, was held in Bergen, Norway in 1994. She is the recipient of the Honourable Mention Award, Philip Morris Group of Companies Singapore Art Award (2001) and her works are in individual and corporate collections both locally and overseas. April has been commissioned by the RSAF (Singapore) to work on projects, and she is one of the artists selected by the Land Transport Authority (Singapore) for the North East Line MRT Art in Transit series (Woodleigh Station).
For this show April exhibited pieces from her old and new prints, comprising intaglio, embossing and a new experimental method in collagraphy.
About Tan Seow Wei
Tan Seow Wei (b. 1979) graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts in 2008 with a BA (Hon) in Painting. Over the years she had been awarded the Tan Tze Chor Art Award in 2003, Georgette Chen Scholarship in 2006, and the Winston Oh Travel Award in 2007. While the complexities of urban space has been a preoccupying theme in her earlier practice, her latest series is a fervent study of the human body through the documentation of mark making. Various mediums are employed to create the art pieces, incorporating not just printmaking techniques such as monoprint, silkscreen but also drawing and collage.
Like many other artists, the human body is an object of intense study for Seow Wei. Not unlike the fortune teller who interprets one’s fate by reading lines of the palm or the detective who deciphers the identity of a person through the lines of the finger print, the artist sees the body as a fascinating network of lines and marks, not just as mere outlines but also contours, creases and folds. Though often curvaceous, the line quality of a human body presents itself in ways much more than that; strong or frail, thick or thin, continuous or broken. More importantly, whatever the lines are, they provide alternatives to reading the human body and also subtle hints to understanding the person.
For this exhibition Seow Wei will be showing a mix of old and new work, comprising monoprints, silkscreen prints, and mimeograph prints that combine with ink-wash aesthetics.
About Zhang Fuming
Zhang Fuming (b. 1989) obtained his Diploma in Fine Arts (Printmaking) from LASALLE College of the Arts in 2011. He was among the three winners in the Affordable Art Fair Young Talent Program 2014/15. In Singapore, Fuming is possibly the only printmaker of his generation who chooses to harness the direct, efficient means of black-white woodcut narratives in expressing critical social messages, reprising the role of social realism in the application of woodblock prints.
Fuming’s heavy, expressive use of blacks and whites takes after the technique of influential German printmaker, Kathe Kollwitz who relies on bold, economical usage of blacks and whites to dramatise scenes of vulnerability, toil and destitution. Fuming’s utilisation of large woodblocks, combined with an immersive black-white engagement—achieved through rubbing and printing—heightens the stark emotional quality of his images and supplies them with a sense of weight and melancholy.
For this exhibition Fuming showed his latest work, which include woodcuts, lithographs, and copper plate etchings with collage.