Matters and Manipulations


    June 9, 2017 – June 25, 2017

    Gajah Gallery


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    Gajah Gallery presents Matters and Manipulations, an extended body of work by Sabri Idrus, fuelled by the theme of transformation and darkness. These works are a continuation of the Recovery Plan series, also formerly known as the Disruptive Nature series, which began in 2015.

    Idrus’s interest in ‘creating and finding light’ transpires from the Malay proverb ‘Seperti katak di bawah tempurung kelapa’, which tells the story of a frog remaining within the darkness of a coconut shell – an allegory reminscient of Plato’s cave. The artworks are created with an organic topography that is composed of a multitude of 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional undulations and crevices. These ‘cracks’ evidently allow the passage of fragments of colour to find their way to the surface, visual interpretations that juxtapose light and dark. This exploration is not confined to what is natural or man-made alone; it is an inclusive study of both, which inspires the artist’s analysis of the resilience of man and material, translated through the physical manipulation of matters.

    For Sabri, the purpose of painting is never a visualization of form and narrative. Matters, and the manipulation of them is instead central to his artistic practice. This is evident in Sabri’s most recent works, in which he introduces the canvas to an array of materials otherwise foreign to a painter’s studio.

    Through a process of carefully planned experimentations, Sabri mixes materials such as grout powder, polyester resin, roof seal plaster, rubber mix compound and acrylic house paints to create pigments for his paintings. Akin to a laboratory experiment, his canvas serves as a petri dish where scientific reactions occur from the different materials and their contact with each other. These materials are capable of constructing three dimensional forms and structures, yet Sabri strips them of their association to the industrial and instead confines them to a flat surface. Irregular compositions of colors and textures are thus developed through organic processes such as condensation and cracking of layers on the canvas – radiating a sense of liberation otherwise unfamiliar and unachievable with conventional materials.

    Join us at Gajah Gallery to view this incredible survey of fundamental abstraction that invokes a space for contemplation and reverie. 

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