April Ng Kiow Ngor: Salient Traces
8–17 November 2019
Local printmaker April Ng’s latest solo exhibition, Salient Traces, featured about 20 original intaglio prints - each created and hand-pulled personally by the artist - and foregrounds April’s interest in forms inspired by nature and her continued investigation into the minute but palpable organic presence in our everyday environment.
For instance, the new group of prints titled Existential Silence dramatises the organic interdependence between living and non-living objects: a thriving strand of botanical life that has erupted from the crevice of a rock gently embraces the surface of its refuge like a subtle and dignified gesture. While it has survived nature, the necessity of its existence amounts to nothing of terrestrial concern and most likely goes unnoticed by the human eye. Yet April’s work also takes apart conventional notions of spatiality. A lifeless rock is perhaps more often understood as a compound of minerals incapable of sustaining life but its physical essence as ascribed by nature is in fact capable of supporting lifeform without being a basis for it, as observed in her work. The ambiguity and multiplicity of meanings that she purports through a seemingly stable and simplistic structure of form accentuates the poetic richness of her visuals.
Similarly utilising the robust dynamics of black as a colour but to different effect, another new group of larger monoprints titled Gentle Silent Breeze features juxtaposing dimensions of gradated blacks that fill up the entire expanse of the paper. Overflowing before our eyes are blacks built on blacks, or against blacks, yet there is an order amidst the flux that evokes the beauty of natural phenomena, such as the changing cloud formation in an evening sky or the uneven rhythmic flow of a spontaneous breeze.
April Ng (b. 1963 - , Singapore) 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 Slate School of Fine Arts, UK and has since adopted the medium for her artistic expression. She specialises in monotype and intaglio printing, though her practice in recent years focusses almost entirely on the latter. 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).