The Shape of Things: Conceptual Configurations


    October 17, 2019 – November 10, 2019

    Gajah Gallery


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    Gajah Gallery is proud to present The Shape of Things: Conceptual Configurations, the first solo exhibition in Singapore by the acclaimed Malaysian artist, Dr. Choong Kam Kow. A pioneering figure in the historical development of Malaysian art, Dr. Choong is highly regarded for his vast contribution to the field of education, playing a vital role in nurturing many of today’s leading artists in both the contemporary Malaysian and Singaporean art scenes.

    The Shape of Things: Conceptual Configurations features a range of works from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s, across three seminal series: The New York Series, The SEA THRU Series, and his signature Shaped Canvas Series. These works will be shown alongside new, contemporary pieces which expand on and adapt these ideas for the present day.

    During his time in New York in the 1960’s, Dr. Choong found himself within a turbulent art scene, inspired by and responding to the various movements which had or were beginning to emerge: Abstract Expressionism, Hard-Edge painting, Conceptual Minimalism and Geometric Abstraction. Upon his return to Malaysia, he developed a unique studio practice that bridged these two cultures: methodologically Western yet philosophically Eastern.

    A master of colour, his works portray a diversity of shapes, sizes and colour arrangements that contour vibrant and rhythmic visual effects. With the New York Series, Dr. Choong combines organic forms with geometric shapes, exploring the cultural differences and challenges in moving from rural Perak to the metropolitan New York City.

    Following this, the Shaped Canvas Series respond to the rapid economic growth of the nation, and its call to science and technology in search of progress and development. Gestural marks were deliberately eliminated to achieve an industrial beauty found in precision. The later SEA THRU Series expands upon this, combining the mediums of painting and sculpture through an interplay of optical illusion and physical mass.

    A former Dean of Fine Art Studies at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore; and previously the Head of the Art Department at the United Nations International School, New York; in 2014, Dr. Choong was awarded the highest national honour – a career retrospective spanning over five decades in art at the National Visual Arts Gallery of Malaysia.

    An internationally renowned artist, Dr. Choong’s works have been acquired for permanent collection by many major public institutions including the National Visual Arts Gallery, Malaysia; the Singapore Art Museum; the National Taiwan Museum of Art; the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan; the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan; the Guangdong Museum of Art, China; the Frederikshavn Art Museum, Denmark; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA.

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