Close to Culture, Close to Creativity, Spot on Asia.

Articles by Isabella Ow

Isabella Ow

Isabella Ow

Creative at Sabbatical
Isabella writes and muses with art objects. Anything contemporary, inventive and original fascinates her. Full-on Christian and positive-thinker!
Isabella Ow
The artist worked with Masao Nishikawa on the colour treatment of these installation photos.

Dawn Ng: Disappearance into a Variegated Rainbow

Posted on July 18, 2016

How to Disappear into a Rainbow is multimedia artist Dawn Ng’s installation by way of colour portals. The new Aloft at Hermès is transported into a kaleidoscopic labyrinth of shades, comprised of daybreak hues and juxtapositions of pastel blocks and mirror panels. In this interview, the author taps into the artist’s view of what meaningful aspects of identity and culture could be derived out disappearing into this sea of colour palette.

Prior to this exploration of a variegated rainbow labyrinth, Dawn had embarked on other studies of colour, emotion, nostalgia and identity.

Portrait of the artist

Portrait of the artist

How have these experimentations in Colour changed over time?

The palette in my work is often reflective of the pervasive mood and tenor unique to the current point of time in my life.

When did your exploration for Colour begin and why has it been of such interest to you? Was there anything you had set out to achieve in the explorations of Colour?

The colours were derived from a spectrum of daybreak hues. I wanted to create an abstract sense of moving through the soft pastel colour planes of an early horizon — that child-like, ephemeral place between sleep and consciousness. The colour portals represent different passageways or doors, and their symbolic and psychological ability to usher a person from one place, time, or self, to the next.

There is no pedantic takeaway message. I believe the more people think, the less they feel, and the less they are able to just be. I wanted to take people out of their everyday realities and immerse them in a surreal landscape of colour, in which they can simply get lost. Getting lost is a meditative and cathartic act. No one gets lost anymore. It’s impossible with the technology we have in this day and age. I think to encounter and engage with something we are not sure of is a beautiful thing, to go through that naïve sense of exploration brings us back to being a child again.

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Photo by Isabella Ow

5Stars: Understanding National Values Through Art

Posted on June 5, 2016

It is a tribute to Singapore’s 50th anniversary in 2015 and its national values of Peace, Justice, Equality, Democracy, and Progress.

Five of Singapore’s eminent artists Ho Tzu Nyen, Matthew Ngui, T.K Sabapathy, Suzann Victor and Zulkifle Mahmod were invited and commissioned to create large-scale works inspired by these themes. The artworks, spread across SAM’s exhibition spaces, offer a view into how these humanist values could be envisioned for the future. The exhibit provides a sacred space of sorts, one that opens the floor for deep reflection and discourse to flourish from appreciation.

The author had the privilege of experiencing the multi-platform installations of this exhibit, as well as the chance to pick the brains of participating artists Ho Tzu Nyen and Matthew Ngui, and co-head curator for Of Equal Measure and Bloodline of Peace, Joyce Toh.

Photo by Mimic Productions Berlin

Photo by Mimic Productions Berlin

Value: Justice
Artist: Ho Tzu Nyen
Title: No Man (2015)
Materials: Six-channel audio-video installation

As a national value, the notion of justice need not veer away from how it would be defined in the judicial court of law. In the video installation, entitled No Man, justice is presented in an otherworldly and cross-worldly dimension, and applying haunting overtones to the theme. Artist Tzu Nyen has acknowledged taking Meditation XVII: Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, a 17th-century poem by John Donne, as a jump-off point for his artwork. The metaphysical poem ruminates on the consequences of man’s actions, in accountability to a greater God and as a deep reflection on the meaning of humanity.

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SPOT ART 2013: The Growing Pains of Young ASEAN Artists

Posted on November 19, 2013

SPOT ART 2013 Singapore is an exhibition that celebrates the best of Southeast Asian art talent, all under the age of 30. Supported by the Ministry of Communication & Information (MCI) and the National Arts Council (NAC), the exhibition illuminates the values of collaboration, partnership, and a genuine attempt to build the foundations of a sustainable visual arts industry in Singapore. Through this collaborative effort, the exhibition and its surrounding dialogue fleshes out the difficulties facing young artists in Singapore, fresh out of school and lacking in mentorship for industry experience. But what the exhibition also offers is a platform for artists in the region to collaborate.

Drawing back to the exhibition itself, the layout is an amalgamation of paintings, illustration, print, installation, and video art. The selection committee is comprised of esteemed curators and experts on contemporary art in Southeast Asia, selecting over 200 works of more than 70 artists (out of 1500 submissions.) The exhibition prides itself on its quality, diversity; and particularly celebrates the fact that it is nestled in one homely spot. As the event organizers themselves mention, the Southeast Asian arts scene tends to be quite fragmented, so the motivation to distill this artistic incubation in one single location is a definitive gesture.

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A Night at the Museum

Posted on October 12, 2013

Oh how the Night Festival inaugurated by the National Museum of Singapore has evolved. By evolved, I refer to the growth and diversification of its audience demographics; as well as the development in its programming. The Singapore Night Festival has developed into one of character, scale, grandeur and vision: and it can truly helm itself as one of the annual peaks one looks out for in the calendar. It was marketed consistently across the nation’s paper spreads, as well as along the transportation lines and systems. Furthermore, it was an intrajectory collaboration between not just statutory boards, but arts hubs, performance collectives, visual artists and bands as well. Held over 2 weekends in August, the Night Festival managed to not just draw in the crowd, but make a unique statement about what constitutes successful and long-term festivalisation.

Projection mapping display at the National Museum.

Projection mapping display at the National Museum.

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