This body of work marks a new juncture in the development of Tan’s earlier kwodrent series beyond the formalistic aspects of rectangles characterised by the earlier fabric-based works. The paper and pigment constructions are a result of an attempt to seek deeper dialogues with the materiality of the chosen media. At the same time, they look back to the origins of the kwodrent series by staying true to the fundamental ethos of working intuitively with the hands, to allow the medium to guide and formulate new methods in the process.
Tan’s current exploration focuses on the textural and optical effects of artist pigments. Instead of mass produced and readymade colourants, she uses significant pigments with historic relevance from all over the world like Ultramarine Ash (lapis lazuli mined from Afghanistan), Bianco San Giovanni (limestone from Italy), Matsubarokusho (Japanese Nihonga malachite pigment mined from China),
Gofun (levigated oyster shells from the Inland Sea, Japan) and carbon-based pigments such as graphite, charcoal and Sumi (soot ink from Japan). Her works provide a critical and intriguing insight
into the nature and account of these materials. Many of the pigments used can be traced back to naturally occurring minerals formed over an extensive period of time while others have been
painstakingly made according to ancient recipes. For example, Ultramarine Ash is the by product of the extraction of natural ultramarine from lazurite, the distinctive vivid and clear purplish blue pigment often reserved for painting the robes of the Virgin Mary and infant Christ in Renaissance religious images. The procedure is based on the principle method of a 14th century historic recipe recorded by Cennino Cennini. The final extraction known as Ultramarine Ash contains the least and smallest blue particles with a high proportion of colourless crystalline materials and it is valued as a pale blue glazing pigment.
Venue: FOST Private Limited, 1 Lock Road, #01-02, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 108932
When: 12 Mar - 3 May 2015,
By: FOST Gallery