Must See- Eric Chan @ Ion Art Gallery

Malaysian artist Eric Can first made his name on the Southeast Asian contemporary art scene with his slightly blurred floral paintings that looked like photographs taken through a diffused lens. A few years ago, he moved into a new direction by depicting, in large scale, reverse negative portraits done by old European masters (16-18th century), stripping the figures to the bare essential as if X-raying the original paintings and their central characters. His latest works, now on show at the Ion Art Gallery in Singapore, is coming full circle by juxtaposing colourful floral and faunal motifs with these reverse monochromatic portraits. In “The Romantic of Betrayal” the artist creates tensions by juxtaposing incongruous images like a security guard from a 1970s photograph against the Michaelangelo's David, a giraffe looming over a section of the The Death Of Marat painting. Apart from a few exceptions, the artist has picked lesser known images. I like the one below opposing Bernini’s marble bust 'Anima Dannata Condemned soul' creaming in the ear of the unflappable Emperor Kangxi. In case you wonder (I did), for each composition, the artist draws the figure in an outline and projects it on to the canvas then draw them with charcoal. Each part is painted with a very tiny brush enabling him to control the tones better and then lightly smudged across with a bigger brush.