Dates: 14 Apr 2012 - 24 Apr 2012
While the foundation of the Modern Art Society may have been ostensibly Modernist, with their ideals set in the grand promise of a newly-independent Singapore creating progressive metanarratives in national and regional identity, technological advancement and enlightened culture, the disparate offerings of the 49th Annual Show 2012 might suggest a more Postmodern condition, with each artist speaking with his/her own voice. With 28 submissions from as many artists, and with no overriding ideology commonly held between them, the works have arisen from personal proclivities and individual concerns.
Yet there are common threads. The vast majority of the works are executed in paint; we do not see installation, video or new media. Many of the works are in vibrant, almost clashing colours which betrays a certain tropical, new world brashness. And the inspiration for several works derive directly from the artist’s immediate environment, be it natural (Ang Pei San, Chan Choy Har, Chng Chin Kang, Jeremy Ramsey, Kang Siong Joo, Ling Yang Chang, Tan Haur, Terence Tan), urban (Boo Sze Yang, Chieu Shuey Fook, Anthony Chua, Tan Chee Teck) or social (Abu Jalal bin Sarimon, Baet Yeok Kuan, Fan Shao Hua, Lye Swee Koon, Tan Juat Lee, Tan Thian Joo). Yet others retreat from the world into non-objective abstraction (Ang Teck Ee, CK Kum, Lim Choon Jin, Lim Leong Seng). For Leo Hee Tong, Mark Luo, Stephen Leong and Yeo Siak Goon, the breath of the South Seas or Nanyang (Singapore’s first Modernist movement) is palpable and immediate. Yet some of the most Postmodern work arises from some of the most elderly artists, a digital montage of Peranakan motifs by Robert Teo, and Goh Beng Kwan’s expansion of his collage medium into plastic objects of popular culture for children.
Perhaps the unity for the Modern Art Society lies in their innate need to express themselves, to reflect their external or internal environment in visual terms for our edification.
About the Modern Art Society, Singapore:
Since its inception in October 1963 founded by seven aspiring artists: Johnda Goh, Ho Ho Ying, Ng Yat Chuan, Tan Yee Hong, Tay Chee Toh, Tong Siang Eng and Wee Beng Chong, the Modern Art Society, Singapore (MASS) has grown in strength and vigour to a total of 52 members. Its mission was to challenge and encourage artists to reinterpret nature with a new vision. In 1963, they joined hands together in organizing the 1st Modern Art exhibition which was held at the national Library. Quoting from the foreword to the 1st Modern Art exhibition, they felt modern art is: “a colourful artistic world reflected by thousands and thousands of unique hearts... modern artists have finally found the depth and breadth of the human soul, and make full use of the new forms of art to express new feelings and thinking.”
MASS became a member of the Federation of Asian Artists (FAA) in 1990 and took part in the 5th Asian International Art Exhibition (AIAE) held at the National Museum of Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Society subsequently hosted the 10th AIAE at the National Museum Art Gallery in Singapore in 1995, and in 2006, it hosted the 21st AIAE simultaneously at the Singapore Art Museum, Nanyang Academy of Fine Art Galleries and epSite, the imaging gallery of Epson. In the 26th AIAE hosted by Korea in 2011, 26 members showcased their artworks in the Hangaram Art Museum at the Seoul Arts Center and the Jeonbuk Province Museum of Art. Apart from participation in exhibitions organized by the Society both locally and overseas, our members are active practitioners notable for their distinctive approach in their artistic practice.