HIDDEN: TREASURES OF A NATURAL WORLD
HIDDEN: TREASURES OF A NATURAL WORLD
4th of Jun to 14th July
22 Jalan Bruas, Damansara Heights Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan www.vallettegallery.com
INDEX Constellations of Land
The Root Of Me
The Works 21 Artist Résumé 33
CONSTELLATIONS OF LAND by Charlotte Cousins, Curator
Piece of Land, Figure 1
Suspension | Mark | Trace Perhaps we can begin with Piece of Land, (2014) as in a way, I did. [Piece of Land, Figure 1] The earliest work in this exhibition is also one of the first I saw during a studio visit with the artist in the late summer of 2015. We were beginning discussions about a solo exhibition. Graciously, Faizal offered me tea, some delicious treats and we looked at his work together. When the artist showed me this diptych, I was struck— by its evocative luminosity, its layered subtlety, by its impact and the lower left hand corner. The white edged corner is the trace of where tape once was and when the artist removed that tape, he realized the impact of the way these jagged borders set off the image, by the contrast between the layered textures of the painting against the striking white primed canvas. With this exposed raw corner, the landscape took on another aspect, set off from both the canvas edge and the wall by different degrees. The effect is startling as it both differentiates the image from its support and at the same time, draws attention to the artist’s selective decision-making. By exposing the nuanced layering that Suhif uses to build up his images as part of his process, it emphasizes his embrace of happy accident. (For example, he has left a printed canvas out in the elements for months to see what happens and what nature can inspire as his collaborator.) In this case, it is the trace of absence (of the artist’s hand) that is so compelling in juxtaposition to the layered presence of that very hand in the rest of the work.
Obliquely he has spoken of this balance, in almost philosophical terms: “I am fascinated by the interplay of order and randomness that is found where man and nature meet…I [am] left with some exquisite marks that are a curious mixture of planning and randomness which something I feels underlies so much of my work.” The title of the work (Piece of Land) is deliberately general, inviting the viewer into the landscape through the composition; ones eyes follow the imagery literally and figuratively into the space it describes. Simultaneously, the work can be quite specific and the viewer becomes aware of the layered process, a combination of print and painting, and the accrual of imagery. In Floating Land, the artist has expanded the role of the edge, using this negative space in different ways to create different dynamics within each canvas and then multiplied this chemistry by dividing the piece into multiple panels. (Figure 2 Floating Land) Evocative of Chinese landscape paintings and screens, each canvas must function in relation to the next, each panel with an independent integrity but in conversation as a whole. The imagery in these panels demonstrates the layered way of working that Suhif has developed, a combination of rubbings and tracings, of plan and accident. Looking at all the work in this solo exhibition one can trace an evolution of a personal artistic vocabulary as well as
Floating Land, Figure 2
an individual rigorous process. Some of the imagery in Floating Land references a suite of small red prints the artist made while he was in an international residency program in 2014, the same time during which he created Piece of Land. (Red piece Figure 3) This series explores the beauty of form (abstraction) even as they suggest elements of landscape (and realism). The artist works along this spectrum to explore the potential and tension along the way. However, upon some careful observation by the viewer, the lines and shapes begin to congeal and to shift allegiances; potential recognizable images sometimes emerge of landscapes seen from different perspectives, of clouds. This double layering of form suggests a concurrent multiplicity of meaning. This mental flipping (from recognizable image to nonrepresentational forms and back) suggests the possibility to multiple and simultaneous readings of the work. So how might we understand what is happening here? And also how it is happening? In the series of square canvases in the exhibition, Suhif has taken the vocabulary of forms seen in Floating Land and used it differently. In these four works, the rubbings have been printed horizontally and vertically across the surfaces, creating a situation for the viewer that feels like reading a proverb or haiku, the artistâ€™s visual poetry. (Floating Figure 4) Again, the preservation of the white edge (a negative space treated as an active element of composition) creates an impression of suspension, suggesting fragments. The white edges that remain around these traces seem to suspend them in space, like a phrase just spoken but still remembered. In previous works, the artist has often incorporated language or the allusions to language in his work, not surprising for a printmaker/poet.
Microcosm | Macrocosm
Red Piece, Figure 3
Suhif returns time and again to the abundance and beauty of the natural world, often crystallizing this wisdom and generative energy in a vocabulary of seed pods, glowing floating forms and blips. Using surprising color and shapes, he injects these mostly monochromatic pieces with moments of wonder. These small organic shapes of unusual color contrast the calligraphic grey and black elements and described forms. Â Perhaps, by drawing our attention to a specific point, the small areas of color function as a sort of punctum for the
ground, and the next day transfer it to a canvas that he works on vertically. “The rubbing traces were taken new to my studio and some in the open space, the technique is rubbing and rolling the ink on canvas. The surface is taken from the ground, soil and cement surface. It need high viscosity of ink and pressure from the roller to transfer the ink to the canvas” Time can play a similar role. By allowing works to evolve over a period of time, the artist develops a relationship to them, imagining and re-making, revisiting their origins and anticipating their futures.
Found | Imagined | Made Floating, Figure 4
work as a whole, a spot around which we, as viewer, can organize our perspectives and interpretations of the piece. (Figure 5)
Most of the works in this exhibition are based on monoprints. A monoprint is a type of print, in that the image is created by a physical transfer of an image from one surface to another. But as the name implies, rather than producing multiples, a monoprint is unique. Often
As in a child’s play, one looks alternately between both sides of a pair of binoculars, trying to reconcile that both views are of the same thing, even though they provide strikingly different viewpoints. Another way of imagining this process is to see the world around you through a microscope, observing constellations of details hidden from the naked eye and fascinating in the endless variety of their formations. The artist also uses a lens, although a photographic one, as part of his process, to capture interesting grooves, bumps, textures and landscapes. The photography is significant as a photograph is not only a record, that one can contemplate multiple times and in the future, but also within different contexts, can provide a sense of remove that allows the viewer to discover something hidden in the image they may have only sensed while taking the image. How many times have we looked at a photo from our near or distant past and noticed some detail we had never seen before? To view Suhif’s pieces, the viewer is put in a similar situation. And to work on such a piece requires this constant flipping between microcosm and macrocosm views. The artist achieves by working literally as well as figuratively on the piece from a different perspective. From one day to the next the artist might work on the canvas on the ground or indeed create a rubbing off the
Floating Land Series, Figure 5
this means that the surface that will be transferred from is unique as well, so it would be impossible to create another identical image. This focus on the physical (indexical) quality of making marks (rather than the multiple possibilities of printmaking) underlines its immediacy. These rubbings become traces of time, whether geological or manmade. As literally the skins of everything thing around us, they bear the evidence of weather, erosion, seasons and disease imprinted on their surface. By selecting and imprinting these images and marking them into and onto canvas, the artist is recording not only the history of the place or object, but also a history of time. Indexical markings are evidence of physical contact and actions and therefore, contain a performative aspect, even without audience. These traces are of sites and objects sought for or seen, then selected and recorded, just as a scientist might seek and then contemplated by the artist’s eye. The act of recording these sites (through photography) has its tactile counterpart in the physical rubbings. While all of the pieces in the show are unique, many of the works in this show are made of multiple pieces— diptychs or multi-panel--drawing attention to reiteration and difference, comparison and sameness to underline subtleties usually ignored. For example, in the monumental pieces from Somewhere down the road, one can see the lines seem spatial, as if mapping subterranean or other constellations. (Somewhere down the road, Figure 6). Set against another physical more terrestrial realm, the lines define a cosmological map of ground and suggest a mapped sky. This understanding to the connection from part to whole, from single to multiple, perhaps comes from Suhif’s background as a printmaker but also from his understanding of how to create narrative. Simultaneously the works glow with earthly colours, shadows created from textures. Faizal Suhif was trained as a printmaker, and as evidenced by this exhibition, he uses the process as a jumping off point but is not limited by it. While the artist makes his works using tools and techniques integral to traditional printmaking, Suhif eschews the conventional and seeks to push the boundaries of the definition of the print. For example, many of the works in this exhibition are unique, meaning there is only one original. They are
neither reproducible nor multiples, however the at the beginning/base of the image is a print (notably, usually a monoprint). In another significant choice, the support onto which he impresses the images is canvas (a material usually associated with painting). After careful looking, it is possible to see that the artist has worked into the compositions with other prints, gestural painted strokes in oil and acrylic, charcoal marks and colored forms. Indeed it may be more appropriate and specific to talk about Suhif’s work and approach as one of “multi-media.” If we continue to look for clues as to how the artist constructed his pieces, we can discern grainy, fluid, and grooved textures behind the darker (more surface) elements. Suhif often uses found materials as his “printing blocks”, selected for their textures, original dimensions and forms. In fact the artist has explained that he often finds surfaces in nature and the man-made world around him (sidewalks, stones, wood fragments, soil) and makes rubbings from them, transferring their textures into micro landscapes, exposing possible imagery, a potential first visualized to be realized. These rubbings become a background with which and in contrast to the artist can build up the work, highlighted and enhanced using composition, color and the artist’s hand. Scientific in his careful observation and creative in his appropriation and juxtaposition of elements, Faizal Suhif’s artworks combine multiple bodies of knowledge and modes of inquiry. This line of inquiry may seem unduly philosophical. However, after you have listened to the artist speak about how the natural world inspires his art practice and how he views the beauty of the whole within the tiniest of details, perhaps it is not such a stretch. Through the contemplation of one small flower, might we discover our own place in the world? These unusual pieces straddle the line between abstraction and figuration, layering imagery and textures like screens, creating a works that function through both iconic and indexical marks, Suhif freely using all the tools available to realize the work of his imagination.
Charlotte Cousins, Curator
Somewhere Down The Road, Figure 6
THE ROOTS OF ME by Faizal Suhif, artist
Photography by Faizal Suhif, (artist inspiration)
â€œThese pieces materialize the path that leads to inner self. It is inspired from the experience and activities of my father, with whom I travelled and joined, to work on parcels of land in the village. My work is an allegory of our human condition through nature. It depicts the lush and fertile land until its return to barren state. These are the images that remind me of my father. He compared our lives to vegetables in their short and brief existence. He believed one should always make its best to do something that would benefit themselves and others, instead of wallowing. Each of my artworks tell the story of a life metaphor to undergo and cared for, like sowing the seeds that will grow into a tree and eventually will be beneficial to everyone. There are images of seeds from different plant types. Their function is to acquire the knowledge of God that gives us sustenance and greatness. When applied to life, there are times when wisdom can grow from just a tiny seed. Just the same way, a thousand seeds can be sown but there wonâ€™t be a thousand plants growing, shooting from the earth. Each effort given is also a test to our faith. To me, this also tests the ability of our appreciation towards the earth itself. A fertile land accepts water and is ready to produce vegetation. When rain falls on it, it absorbs the water eagerly, giving rise to all sorts of pleasant vegetation. This is the example of a healthy, pure, and intelligent heart, which embraces knowledge, is guided by its intelligent nature, and thus blossoms wisdom and faith. It is eager to take knowledge, and ready to bear fruits. It is an unquestionable issue, not only to depict the outcome and fortune derived from our efforts but the intention in learning from the life process and journey.â€?
Piece of land (2014) (Diptych) 2,5 x 2,5 feet each Charcoal on canvas
Somewhere down the road (2015 - 2016) 2 x 6 feet each Monoprint, oil on canvas
Falling Seeds Series (2013-2015) 2 x 4 feet Oil, acrylic, monotype on canvas
Treasure (2016) 4 x 5 feet Monoprint, acrilyc on canvas
Floating Land Series, 7 panels (2015-2016) 2 x 6 feet each Monoprint, oil, acrylic on canvas
Sky Full of Stars (2016) 2,5 x 2,5 feet Monoprint, oil, acrylic, on canvas
Hidden Treasure - Walking a Half Mile (2015 - 2016) 5 x 6 feet Monotype, oil, stencil, on canvas
Hidden Treasure - Scents Travel in the Wind (2015 - 2016) 5 x 6 feet Monotype, oil, stencil, on canvas
Hidden Treasure - Across the Silent Space (2015 - 2016) 5 x 6 feet Monotype, oil on canvas
Floating (2016) 2,5 x 2,5 feet Monoprint, oil, acrylic, on canvas
Treasure Island (2016) 2,5 x 2,5 feet Monoprint, oil, on canvas
Isolated (2016) 2,5 x 2,5 feet Monoprint, oil, acrylic, on canvas
Diploma in Fine Art, UiTM. Malacca. 2002-2006
2002 - First Solo, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan
Degree Hons in fine Art, UiTM, Shah Alam Selangor 2006-
Air Hitam Bt 15 Muar
2011 - A Piece Of Land… Shah Alam Gallery, Selangor.
M.A in Fine Art, UiTM, Shah Alam Selangor 2011-2013
2012 - Silent Diary,G13 Gallery, Kelana Jaya, Selangor
2013 - Fossil, Beranda Langkawi Art Gallery, Kedah
2015 - Bronze Award, UOB Painting of the year, UOB Bank 2014 - Jurors Awards, National Visual Art Gallery 2013 - Master Excellent Award Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)
2013 - Master Show, Uitm Jalan Othman, Petaling Jaya, Selangor 2014 - Stories From The Soil, G13 Gallery, Kelana Jaya, Selangor 2016 - Hidden: Treasures of a Natural World
2011 - Jurors Awards, UKM,Bangi 2009 - Consolation prize, Open Show Johor 2009 - Finalist MRCB Art Awards
2008 - Consolation prize, Nando’s Art Competition
2008 - Artist in residence Art Village Gallery, Kelana Jaya,
2007 - Honorable Mention, NBC 1st screen print biennale
2010-11 - Artist in residence Shah Alam, Gallery, Selangor
2007 - DENTSU Toyota, ‘Blank Canvas Project’ – 3rd Prize
2012 - Artist in residence G13,Programme, Kenyem Art
2007 - Consolation prize IMU International Art Competition
Studio, Bali Indonesia
2007 - 5th Prize Saloon Meets Art Competition
2013 - Artist in residence Beranda Art Residency, Langkawi 2014 - Artist in residence House of Art, Skopje, Macedonia
Selected Exhibitions 2002 Group Exhibition Seni Warisan Tanjong Mas Muar Johor. Life Drawing, Tanjong Mas, Seni Warisan Muar Johor. Art Exhibition Sek Men Keb Air Hitam Bt 15 Muar - hari Q.
2003 Art Fest, Demo and Art Exhibition UiTM Malacca.
2004 Fine Art Department GroupExhibition UiTM Malacca.
2005 Group Exhibition “Media and Technique Exploration” at Library UiTM Malacca. Exhibition and Demo Printmaking(lino) “Sehari Bersama TYT Malacca”.
2006 Diploma Show PERZIM Art Centre, Malacca,
2009 Charity Exhibition ‘Palestine’ National Art Gallery, KL, Malaysia. MRCB Exhibition, National Art Gallery, KL, Malaysia. Young and New Part III, House of MATAHATI, Ampang, Selangor, 1st International Mail Art Exhibition, Shah Alam Gallery, Merdeka Fine Art Group Show, TMS Art Gallery, Ampang, Selangor, Printmaking Show, 360 Gallery, Desa Park City, KL
2010 Locals Only, Taksu Gallery,KL, Printmaking Show, Muzium Seni Asia, Universiti Malaya, KL Earth Hour, Zinc Gallery, Bangsar, KL Group Show,H20, Art Village, Bangsar South. Group Show, GR8 New Generation, Wei-ling Gallery, Brickfield, KL, VAA Young Contemporary Art Exhibition, Star Hill Gallery,KL, Malaysia. The Regiment, Alternative Printmaking Exhibition, University Sains Malaysia.USM, Penang,
Open Show Galeri Shah Alam Selangor
MATIC, Contemporary artist group exhibition,
Open Show “Malaysian Landscapes” Balai Seni Lukis Negara
Absolute 18@8, Weiling Gallery, Brickfield, KL,
Printmaking Exhibition 03 Fine Art Department. Painting and PhotographyExhibition, Tasik Kenyir KETENGAH Terengganu,
2007 Exhibition of paintings on flora, Flora Fest “Colors of Harmony” Putrajaya Conference Hall, Putrajaya, KL Pact Max Art Award Exhibition, Gurney Plaza, Penang, Mail Art Exhibition Galeri Shah Alam Selangor, Group Exhibition “Fresh Faces ’07” Pelita Hati. House of Art.
2011 Front Page, Group exhibition, Pink Guy Gallery, KL, 2011 Expression, ASWARA,Fine Art Faculty,Group Show, This is it, Core Design Gallery, Subang jaya, Selangor Rasa Antarabangsa, UKM, Bangi. Selangor GOHD, Weiling Contemporary,Gardens KL Obsession Art Disorder, Core Design Gallery, Subang jaya, Selangor, Art Expo Malaysia, Matrade Hall, KL, The Way We See.. Dunia Seni Lukis Gallery, Four man show Cirque Du Freak Core Design Gallery, Subang,
Rasa Antarabangsa UKM, Bangi, Selangor 14 Mei Interiors Malaysia 2008 Putra World Trade Centre, (PWTC) KL. Young n New Part II, House of MATAHATI (HOM) Ampang, Selangor, Pameran Pelukis Semenanjung, Galeri Seni Lukis Sabah, Trio Show, Nature Reflection, Art Village Gallery, Kelana Square, Petaling Jaya.
2012 Open Show G13 Gallery, Kelana Jaya, Ember, Qube Gallery, Ampang KL, Malaysia- Iran Art Exhibition, Aswara Gallery, Kl, Beautiful Mind, Core Design Gallery, Subang,
Malaysian Landscape, Core Design Gallery, Subang. Ahmad Scissorshand, Core Design Gallery, Subang,
International Exhibition 2007
Young Contemporary Group Exhibition, G13 Gallery, Kelana Jaya, Selangor
International Group Exhibition “Malaysian Art Festival” Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Spice, Group Exhibition, Pace Gallery, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
The Masters’ Mystery Art Show (MMAS) Ritz-Carlton, OneLincolnRoadSouthBeach. Art Basel Miami Beach.
“Destiny” Young Contemporary Group Exhibition, National Visual Art Gallery, KL. Master Show, UiTM Jalan Othman, Petaling Jaya Selangor. AQAL, Group Show, Segaris Art Centre, KL
2014 TEMU, Two-man show, Vallette Gallery, Bukit Damansara, KL
Read Drawing, Petronas Gallery, KL Open Show, National Visual Art Gallery, KL Art Expo Malaysia, Martrade Hall, KL. Suarasa 3, Segaris Art Centre
2015 MERU, Segaris Art Centre, KL Suarasa 4, Segaris Art Centre KL Abstraction, Core Design Gallery, Subang Jaya X Canvas Core Design Gallery, Subang Jaya Test Print II, HOM, Ampang KL. Anniversary show, G13 Gallery, Petaling Jaya
NBC 1st Screen Print Biennale, Tokyo, Japan.
2008 The 11th Annual Postcards From The Edge, A Benefit For Visual AIDS, USA.
2009 Mail Art Wandel 2008, Change, Galerie Colognialwaren, Richard Platz 20, Berlin, Germany.
2012 Dialogue ii, Gaya Fusion, Sayan Bali, Indonesia. 1st Printmaking Triennial, Macau. China Group Show, Serendipity to Beijing, Malaysia-Beijing Embassy, Beijing, China.
2014 Private View, Art Collector, USA International Art Colony, Kicevo, Macedonia Exhibition and printmaking workshop, Malaysia Week, Istanbul, Turkey
2016 The Practitioners, Segaris Art Centre, KL Grande III Core Design Gallery Subang Jaya
About Vallette Gallery Vallette Gallery is a modern and contemporary art space based in Kuala Lumpur, representing Malaysian and international artists. We intend to raise awareness of artists working within Malaysia to increase their recognition and to create opportunities. The gallery also wishes to develop cultural exchanges through exhibitions, artists and curators residency programs, educational events and publishing projects between France, Malaysia and South East Asia. The Gallery would like to thank the artist Faizal Suhif for his time, energy and contribution.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The artist wishes to acknowledge the assistance of the following individuals in the realization of this project:
Director: Patrice Vallette Directorâ€™s Assistant: Ingrid Hassan-Dib Curator: Charlotte Cousins Coordinator: Maria Fleancu Photographer: Anahita Ghazanfari Designer: Ana Oliveira
Allah SWT, my family, Nurjazmine Syahnaz, Juhari Said, Suzlee Ibrahim, Jamil Zakaria, Bakir Baharom, Ruang 16, MAF14, Art collectors, art lovers, artists friends and students.