TRUTH BE TOLD – Recent thotz abt painting ppl is a solo exhibition by Yeo Tze Yang, featuring 17 works on paper Exhibition and 20 paintings made in the last two years. TRUTH BE TOLD: Recent thotz abt painting ppl marks the tenth year of the self-taught painter’s professional art practice whereupon he reflects candidly on the beginnings of his artistic journey, as well as a review of where he stands at this very moment.
Tze Yang’s reputation as an artist who is able to convey the sublime in the everyday has often led his viewers to expect a level of truthfulness in his street scenes of ordinary people, places and objects. But portraiture during a pandemic requires some deft conjuring on the part of the artist, even if his past paintings have never been merely mimetic of reality. So instead of seeing limitations, Tze Yang seized the opportunity to be playful within the realm of Realism. Thus some faces are based on composites from his photographs (surreptitiously taken) of masked strangers and random faces he found by searching the internet; and some bodies have limbs visually stitched from another person. As a representational painter, he contemplates if such paintings might still be considered “portraits”? And how far can the truth be stretched for the viewer?
Like the ironic main title of the exhibition, the semi-standardised abbreviations of “thoughts”, “about” and “people” in the sub-title convey the same tongue-in-cheek humour. It references “textisms”, spelling conventions used in SMS text messaging; the quintessential form of communication today. The “textisms” belie the fact that the people and places depicted in Tze Yang’s paintings are the antithesis of the glamourous (often fabricated) lives people tend to post on social media. The dishonesty in the sub-title continues since the paintings in the exhibition are not just about people, there are paintings of animals and objects.
The exhibition as a review of his practice thus far, is alluded to by the juxtaposition of his works on paper from his sketchpad and his larger paintings, like a train of thought still in motion. And interspersed amongst the artworks throughout the exhibition space are notes. quotes and colloquialisms collected over the years, in English, Chinese and Malay, all of which Tze Yang is fluent in.
Venue: FOST Gallery, 1 Lock Road, #01-02, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 108932
When: 21 May - 23 Jul 2022, Tue–Sat: 11am–7pm
By: FOST Gallery