ERIZAL AS(b. 1993, JOHOR BAHRU)

Currently based in Melbourne for further studies, Kayleigh Goh is amongst the most reflective and innovative young artists in the region. Inspired by the psychological and poetic implications of place, her works are soft and quiet, gently moving the viewer to contemplate on ideas of home and rest. In the fast-paced life of the city, she allows us access to a metaphysical space where we can safely unpack unresolved emotions of despair. Her works then offer a temporary escape from the complexities and incongruities in life.

WORKS BY THIS ARTIST

Phystical Distancing (Jarak)
2020
Oil on Canvas, 100 x 160 cm

Rich with thick, impasto textures; strong, bold colors; and vigorous movement, this abstract expressionist diptych communicates an urgent and profound interior condition. The background of both panels is washed in a paled, muddy grey shade—conjuring the colour of murky sea waters, wide roads on a highway, or skies on a cloudy day. Covering majority of the left panel, a vivid force of red, pink, flesh, black, blue and white strokes burst, bringing life and energy to the flat and stale background. On the right panel, this same abstract energy reappears, but only as a small trace on the rightmost edge—leaving wide space for the melancholic grey background to take centre stage. 

Pondering the title “Physical Distancing”, we instantly understand the deeply felt, universal experience communicated, which many of us are grappling with today: the pain of physically isolating from our friends and loved ones, in order to keep ourselves safe. Yet, despite the gloom thickening our air, Erizal shows how each of us contains a spark of wild, vibrant life—a powerful reminder that hope for a brighter future lies not outside, but inside us. 

Sunbathing Time (Staying Healthy)
2020
Oil on Canvas, 100 x 80 cm

Erizal’s broad impasto strokes are strongly emphasized when painted on a small canvas. In this piece, wide and loosely defined fields of deep violet, fleshy pink, and varying shades of green give the tiny work a sense of space. 

Behind these thick impasto textures of bold colour is a flat, smooth background washed in light blue and white, conjuring clouds on a bright day. This gives the piece a serene atmosphere, as if the collision of colours were floating on air. Balance is achieved in the way the painting subtly grows from dark to light as one’s eye moves from the bottom to the top of the canvas—from grey to pale grey, deep green to yellow, wine red to rose pink. 

As we slowly ponder this movement, we grow more aware of our evolving moods affected by the juxtaposition of colours and textures—do we gravitate towards the heavy and dark, or the light and airy? Do we feel a sense of fear or release when we get to the top? Erizal’s new piece opens up renewed meditations on the power of colour, space, and texture to provoke the obscured, but not any less real, emotions within us.

Sunbathing Time (Staying Healthy)
2020
Oil on Canvas, 80 x 100 cm

Short, sharp, and staccato strokes in red, pink, orange, green, blue and yellow fill this canvas with vigorous beat and rhythm. Colours boldly collide and contradict, yet work in harmony like a chorus of instruments in a melody—contributing to the depth and richness of the entire composition. 

The work significantly stands out in the context of Erizal’s past work, where these quick and dense strokes would typically be concentrated in a specific area on canvas, and balanced out against a more broad and calm background. But in this work, these piercing strokes dominate in pulsating vertical gestures, tightly dancing together as if in a loud, crowded room with barely any space. 

The work undeniably radiates with vitality—sorely recalling when our days were coloured with congested spaces, different noises and voices talking over each other, and the natural bounce and beat of a lively city. Nonetheless, in its energy, the work translates hope—that after the quiet, we will burst back into the world with the same fresh dynamism.