Artworks that you can ‘hear’

18 December 2018
The Straits Times, Life!, Page D3

Sound artist Zul Mahmod with his work, Resonance In Frames, a threepart installation where solenoids hammer away at copper pipes, starting out with a series of sharp, rhythmic clanks.

Step into Fost Gallery at Gillman Barracks and you will hear Zul Mahmod’s artwork before you see it. Resonance In Frames, a three-part installation where solenoids hammer away at copper pipes, starts out with a series of sharp, rhythmic clanks.

Then the notes grow increasingly insistent, at times syncopated as they trip over one another. Zul, who has explored this concept in larger installations in places such as the Esplanade underpass, was inspired by the rhythm of the city. “Most of us try to block out those noises. Most of us just hear, but we don’t exactly listen,” says the 43-year-old sound artist, who is also an adjunct lecturer at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. His work is part of a group exhibition called Sound & Vision, which also features more than 30 abstract works by artists Ng Joon Kiat, Wyn-Lyn Tan and Ian Woo. The show runs till Dec 30 at the arts enclave off Alexandra Road. It is curated by Michelle Ho, gallery director of ADM Gallery at Nan- yang Technological University’s school of Art, Design and Media. The works examine the relationship between sound and visual art, and nearly all of them are being exhibited for the first time.

On the wall opposite Zul’s installation are several graphite-speckled acrylic paintings by Ng, 42. These seemingly quiet “landscapes” explore the ideas of white noise and cosmic microwave background, a kind of “relic radiation” left over from the Big Bang. Also on display are artist and musician Woo’s paintings, where geometric and organic shapes are held in a state of tension. The acrylic on linen paintings in his Streaming The Mental series are slightly larger than the size of vinyl record covers, he says, adding that the colours – a mix of green, orange and purplish hues – were inspired by the covers of psychedelic records.

Abstract painter Tan, 44, says movement and rhythm are key to her artistic process, adding that she pays attention to the duration between brush strokes. The brushwork and effaced markings in her acrylic on canvas piece Etched In Chartreuse, for example, suggest the pulsations of energy in a musical number. In a dramatic flourish, the last vertical stroke she added to the canvas represents a kind of climax.

Wyn-Lyn Tan is also an adjunct lecturer at NAFA.

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Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited.Reproduced with permission.