Chiammy’s Blog

yunxin’s aep e-portfolio!

block test two 2008 September 28, 2009

Filed under: writings — chiammy @ 15:38

1)With the aid of 2 examples, list some of the key concepts behind the works of M.C. Escher. (10m)

         Two weeks from M.C.Escher include “Reptile” and “Waterfall”. “Reptiles” show the lifecyle of a reptile and how it starts from a tessellated picture of an alligator to an alligator with half a body in 2D and another half in 3D, to a fully 3D alligator which then returns back to the tessellated 2Dalligator form. The entire picture is rendered in black and white, due to the use of woodcut. The black and white helps to create positive and negative spaces in the picture. From “Reptiles”, we can infer that key concepts behind M C Esher’s work include tessellated figures that can be transformed, reflected and pivoted. We can also infer that Esher emphasizes positive and negative spaces, especially with the use of the two parallel achromatic colours, black and white. This can also be inferred by his choice of medium, the woodcut.

           The other work, “Waterfall” shows water flowing down a building. However, from another perspective, we could say that the water is instead flowing back up to the building. The idea of an impossible structure is intelligently camouflaged by M.C.Escher as when viewed from afar, the building is seemingly normal. This idea of the impossible building follows the mathematical idea of a mobius strip, which is a never ending loop. Once again, “Waterfall” is rendered in black and white, due to the nature of the medium, woodcut. Based on “Waterfall”, it is not tough for one to infer how the key concepts behind the works of M.C. Escher includes mathematical algorithms as well as the exploration of positive and negative spaces in black and white.

           In retrospect, “Reptiles” shows how M.C.Escher is interested in the links between 2D and 3D, the mathematical idea of tessellations and positive and negative spaces. “Waterfall” on the other hand exemplifies how he is interested in mathematical algorithms and impossible structures like the mobius strip.

marks: 10

2 (a)

Antony Gormly, Field for Brititsh Isles 1993 Terracotta variable size, approx 40, 000 elements, each 8-26 cm tall

Henry Moore, Recumbent Figure, 1938, Green Horton stone, 88.9 x 132.7 x 73.7 cm, 520kg, Tate Gallery, London

Describe the subject matter of these sculptures, making reference to what you see. (1om)

          In Anthony Gormley’s “Field For The British Isles” (1993), figures of people ranging from 8 to 26 cm in height is exhibited. These figures are built using terracotta and the final product is left to be in the natural reddish colour of terracotta. The terracotta figures are arranged in long rows and columns that appear quite orderly and seem to be attaining a vanishing point within a great distance. The terracotta figures are of varied shape, size and expressions, seeming to be unique individually.

            Henry Mooke’s work. “Recumbent Figure” (1983) is a sculpture carved on Green Hamton stone. The sculpture seems to be depicting a woman, as can be seen from her cleavage. The extensions on the two sides of the sculpture’s chest can be inferred to be the sculpture’s arms, which are locked in prayer. This could possibly be, as implied from the title of the piece, a recumbent figure. The choice of medium used, which is the stone could also possibly be the sculpture’s expression as how he wishes for it to be long lasting. The uneven shape of the sculpture also implies how people are never perfect.

Marks: 7

2b)Analyse and interpret the artists’ intentions of the sculptures. (10m)

From my contextual knowledge, I know that Anthony Gomley makes figures cast in head and iron, often taking his own body as the object for which the sculpting occurs on. His aims of doing so were to emcompass not only what people see from the exterior, but also what is to be seem internally. The “Field for the British Isles” is an installation with varied terracotta figures. These figures come in varied shapes and sizes, possibly showing the differences within every single person, implying the individuality of people. In addition, I know that when viewed from a specific height and angle, the figures all seem to be staring at the viewer. This together with the overwhelming 40,000 figures could possibly be the artist’s intention of overwhelming the viewer and making the viewer feel insignificant in comparison with the massive amount of figures. Also, the fact that the artist chose to leave the figures in its original colour instead of colouring.The figures show how the artist possibly wanted to retain the sole similarity in the figures, which is the colour.

          Henry Moore’s “Recumbent Figure” is a sculpture of a figure carved in Green Hamton stone. The figure is of a majestic size and is a depiction of the upper torso of a human. The figure was a pair of magnified arms that seemingly looked clasped in a prayer like form. Through the emphasis on the upper torso, especially the hands, the artist could possibly be implying how she can repent through prayer. In addition, the size of the figure could perhaps be the artist’s idea of how great or how nobel the recumbent figure.

Marks: 7

2c) From the perspective of a viewer, discuss the differences between installations and sculptures. You may use these two works, or other examples to illustrate your answer (10m)

From “Field of the British Isles’, we can tell that the positioning of an installation is a key factor which affects the viewer’s perception and understanding of the intention of the artist’s work. For example, had the terracotta figures be arranged in a circle with no vanishing point, the viewer would have had a different idea on the artist’s intent. This contrasts with a sculpture as most sculpture are at a rooted position and the viewer is allowed to walk around the sculpture, to admire the sculpture from whichever position he deems is beautiful. The arrangement of the sculpture is done during the process of sculpting the work instead of after the process of the sculpting.

         In addition, comparing Andy Goldsworthy’s “Ice Arch” to Henry Moore’s “Recumbent Figure”. Though both artwork are of majestic sizes, installation artworks have a tendencyto use the arrangement of the artworks to bring out a deeper meaning like global warming. This is in contrast to sculptures in which most of the time, as in the”Recumbent Figure”, the meaning lies within the artwork and not through the positioning of the artwork.

         Also, comparing Han Sai Por’s “Spring” with the “Shimmering Pearls”, “Spring” is a sculpture that is rooted at one spot and it was the sculpture as the sole and central focus.. “Shimmering Pearls” however, has placements of different pearls at different heights. Though they are essentially balls that are coloured, they confuse the viewer as there is no central object to focus on. This shows how installation art is more focused on big picture while sculptures focus on the main object.         

Marks: 7


free writing

Filed under: writings — chiammy @ 15:28

the following was written in 15 mins. the instructions from Mr Lim was to write whatever we thought about any painting in the exhibition. ( This was during one of the AEP field trips). so here it goes

An An In La La Land


This painting shows An An lying on a patch of green grass. Her eyes are closed and her arms are behind her head. An An looks serene, at peace, happy. Nice texture of grass is portrayed through the varied direction of the brushstrokes. I like the grass. It seems to surround An An and yet it does not suffocate her. There is a strong shadow cast on the grass. Amusingly it doesn’t seem to be cast on An An. I think the texture of the clothing is well drawn and the overall harmony and happiness that the painting seems to exude might be due to the artist’s choice of colours which are pure colours that seem relatively unmixed. Colours used are green, blue, beige, black and white. An An seems to be smiling though her lips is in a straight line. Is it because of her cheeks? Or just her relaxed posture? Then again, shadow cast on ground seems fake because it comes in really odd shapes that look like splats. Childhood. Innocence. Happiness. Simplicity. Bliss.  

I think free writing is quite a good way and fast way to reflect, learn and internalise  what I see.


block test one 2009

Filed under: writings — chiammy @ 09:24

AEP Block Test One 2009

1. List three characteristics of the Nanyang Style of painting, with reference to a painting of your choice. [5]

With reference to Liu Kang’s “Life by the river”, we see several characteristics of the Nanyang Style of painting. Firstly, as can be seen from “Life by the river”, we infer that the subject matter of the Nanyang style is often that of everyday life in everyday settings. Some might also infer that it was themed around Balinese everyday life. From “Life by the river”, we also see how the Nanyang Style employed a selected range of flat colours. We also see the influence of traditional Chinese painting brushwork which are well-blended. The thick and darkb outlines which is similar to those in batik are also found in the Nanyang Style. Lastly, the Nanyang Style is also a simultaneous blend between realism ( in its subject matter) and impressionism ( in that objects, eg. Human faces are not painted in full detail.)

Mark: 4.5

2. Name and describe one of Nyoman Nuarta’s works. [5]

One of Nyoman Nuarta’s works is “Rush Hour”, “Rush Hour” depicts a cyclist on a bicycle in movement. In order to show and exemplify the movement in his works, Nuarta overlays multiple images of the cyclist, thereby creating a freeze frame in the rapid movement. “Rush Hour” is mainly composed using copper and brass mesh. The iron mesh is strengthened by the brass, allowing the sculpture to endure exhibitions outdoors. The sculpture seems relatively expressionistic and the lines formed by the fluid looking iron mesh helps to bring out the idea of movement in the sculpture. The cyclist also seems to be leaning forward, implying a rush and an inclination to move forward.

Mark: 3.5


Montien Boonma Buffaloes from the Field to the Town [Figure 3a]
1988, unhusked rice, sacks, straw, horn, stools

a) Describe the subject matter of the instllation, with reference to the symbolism of the materials used. [10]
b)Name another of Boonma’s work, and describe with the aid of a diagram the work’s subject matter, and significance of his use of materials. [10]
c)From the perspective of a contemporary Asian audience, state your views on Boonma’s work as a critique of comtemporary society. [10]

In Buffaloes from the field to the Town, unhusked rice, sacks, straws, a horn and stools are used. These materials are related to buffaloes as buffaloes toil in the fields to plough rice and this symbol is supported by the unhucked rice and rice sacks. The horn also shows us a direct reference to the buffaloes. From the title, we could possibly infer that the subject matter of the installation is talking about the social divide between those in the countryside and those living in the towns. The sacks and unhucked rice show the simplicity of the rural areas, implying how unpolished and untouched they are and this is contrasted with the stools, that are varnished. The juxtaposition of the two vastly different yet symbolic materials possibly brings out Boonma’s concern on the conflicts of society, how society disregards the importance of the humble rice sacks and unhucked rice (which are in fact metaphors of the farmers in the field.). His work seem to imply how despite being urbanised and globalise, it is impossible for society to completely eradicate simple occupations like farmers. The fact that the rice sacks are placed on top of the stools could also imply that farmers are of greater influence and make greater contributions to the society

Mark: 7

Another of Boonma’s work is “Lotus Sound”. “Lotus Sound” is an installation artpiece which makes use of bell jars and lights. The bell jars are arranged in a circle, which ultimately forms a wall, preventing the viewer form entering. In the middle of this wall is a centre with lights, seemingly looking like the heart of a lotus flower. As we know that Buddhism played an integral role in many of Boonma’s works, it is not difficult to link the lotus flower with Buddhism. The lotus flower is a symbol of purity in Buddhism, hacing often being said to grow out of mud and yet remain pure and untainted. This could possibly be the reason for Boonma’s choice of using the bell jars as the bell jars are transparent, allowing the viewer to see through it, hence showing its purity in that it conceals nothing. In addition, his arrangement of the bell jars in the formation of the wall around the lights could possibly be significant of the process of the attainment of enlightenment.

The lights could literally be seen as the enlightenment and the wall shows the viewer the boundary that is needed to be transcended before the attainment of the enlightenment.

The fact that the lights are centralised also show the focus on being enlightened.

Mark: 7

I feel that as a contemporary Asian audience, I very much like Boonma’s works as a critique of contemporary society. From the viewpoint of religion specifically Buddhism, he brings out concerns of a rapidly urbanising and globalised society. He also criticises the militarism present in the Thai societal construct. Through the use of the themes of Buddhism, he conceals his critiques and protests about militarism in works that hint for his audience to self reflect and explore the development of society intelligently.

By using everyday themes, materials and motifs, he allows the viewer to identify better with the artworks, thus enthralling and attracting the viewers to explore the ideas.

In addition, his use of Buddhism and themes that are native to his upbringing and personal background also allows his work to have better verifications as it allows his audience to critique with  him on factors affecting the contemporary society. This is in contrast to him using themes that are foreign to him which could invite cynical comments.

His works are also rather true of contemporary society as many talk about the influence of militarism which we know is rampant in Thailand due to its military government. His comments on the advancement of technology in an overly rapid manner can also be substantiated through the harms and ill effects that technology has brought to modern man.

Mark: 5.5 D:


Montien Boonma April 20, 2009

Filed under: writings — chiammy @ 13:24

1. List some of the influences of Thai Culture in Montien Boonma’s work


Montien Boonma was born and bred in Bangkok, Thailand and like most Thais, he was brought up as a Buddhist. Many of his works comment on the decline of cultural identities and tensions arising from the urbanization of Thai society. As such, much of the influences of such themes in his artworks can be said to be attributed to his associations with the sights and sounds around him.

One aspect of Thai culture that influenced him in his work is the street signs on the roads. This played an important role in one phase of his art making when he decided to make his artwork void of human presence and instead,, used traffic signs and metal grids to bring out his idea of societal suppression.


Another influence is definitely Buddhism. Themes of Buddhism though recurring in many of his artworks are often exemplified and portrayed in a multitude of methods. Examples are how this theme has been employed in his views of changes in the environment as a result of human carelessness, and his ecological works that are expressive of Green Buddhism.


Yet another influence which made an impact in his work was the landscape of Thailand, in particular, the pagodas. The ancient methods of building pagodas coupled with his direct contact with rural life and faith brought out his opinions that in all things that exist, there are symbols of the supra empirical levels of reality.


In conclustion, Thai culture has indeed played an integral and influential role in Montien Boonma’s work.


2.Discuss the significance of Buddhism in ONE of Montien Boonma’s works, giving evidence from the work to support your answer.

The work that I have chosen is “Lotus Sound”, 1992. This work consists of many black pots arranged neatly to form a circular wall of pots arranged neatly to form a circular wall of pots. Above all the pots, is a tube like structure that has yellow droplets prevailing from it.  The entire installation seems to be depicting a lotus flower hanging above lily pads

Indeed, directly at first glance, we can already identify the significance of Buddhism in his work. As can be seen, the symbol of a lotus flower is easily identifiable by the viewer. Lotus flowers are symbolic of Buddhism as they grow in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty. At night the flower closes and sinks underwater, at dawn it rises and opens again. Untouched by the impurity, lotus symbolizes the purity of heart and mind. The lotus flower represents long life, health, honor and good luck. As such, they epitomize the Buddhist belief of helping sentient beings end their suffering by understanding the true nature of phenomena which often refers to having purity, thereby escaping the cycle of suffering and rebirth and attaining Nrivana.

Therefore,  it can be said that “Lotus Sound” not only appeals to the eyes of the audience, but perhaps also to the spiritual needs of the viewer. The circular wall constructed of a compound of terra cotta bells meet the gallery wall on both ends, thus eliminating any form of physical entry to the corner it encloses. This possibly refers to the purity that is often reiterated in Buddhism in which an entity is completely unpolluted by another.

The gold leafed lotus petals and stems that glow under a spotlight also play an integral part in showing the significance of Buddhism in this work. A mentioned above, the symbol of a lotus embodies the idea of purity, spiritual growth and enlightenment.  The lotus is attractive, tempting and enthralling to the viewer, yet out of reach. The presence of the leaves possibly suggests enlightenment as a aspiration and that the striving for its attainment (the process) is the most important.

Lastly, the wall also represents a physical obstacle. However it is not completely opaque, but instead shows some visual porousness, thus leaving a path for the viewers eyes and more importantly, the viewer’s spirit transcend, just as Nirvana in Buddhism.





AEP timetrial essay

Filed under: writings — chiammy @ 13:18



-Vincent Van Gogh, self-portrait with a bandaged earr,1989, oil on canvas, 60 x 49 cm

-Georgette Chen, self-portrait, 1946, oil on canvas, 23 x 18 cm

a) Describe the use of colour, brushwork and space in each of the works, state their influence if any.

Both paintings are self-portraits of the artists. In Vincent Van Gogh’s “Self-portrait with a Bandaged Ear”, the painting depicts Van Gogh after he cut off part of his ear upon the development of the strained relationship between him and Paul Gauguin. It is also known that Van Gogh also had a serious mental breakdown and he was admitted into a psychiatric hospital. This could perhaps lead us to a conclusion that the background is possibly that of a mental hospital. Van Gogh is also seen wearing a black fur hat and a green coat. This could be traditionally Dutch. Also, there is a painting in the background which depicts a family in a countryside. On the left hand side of the painting, there is also a fence. Also, the Japanese print in the background could also imply the influence that the Japanese culture had on Van Gogh.

In Georgette Chen’s self portrait, only her face is shown. This is in contrast to Van Gogh’s self portrait, which shows his head and upper torso. In her self-portrait, Georgette Chen has her in a healthy, groomed, traditional style. Also, Georgette Chen’s eyebrows are neatly groomed to a thin, perfect line. This grooming could perhaps suggest the extravagant lifestyle that she could live in, thus implying that she was part of the Bourgeoise society. Her cheongsam (as suggested by her collar) also suggests the influence of Shanghai culture.

Both paintings depict the artists in a solemn manner, suggesting the calm and solemn environment they were in.

b)Describe the use of colour, brushwork and space in each of the works, state their influence if any.

In Van Gogh’s self portrait, the colours used could mainly be said to be analogous colours of orange, yellow and green, with black and white. The shades of colours are also rather earthen. In this self portrait, Van Gogh also uses thick impasto in choppy strokes. The darker shades of the colour used in the foreground compared to the background helped to create a sense of space in the artwork as it helped to create a distinction between the fore and background. In addition, the dull and earthen colours used could perhpas be depicting Can Gogh’s sad and depressed emotional state. The brushstrokes in the foreground could also be said to be clearer than the background as two tones are used compared to the monotone background. As there is also Japanese print in the background, it is suggestive that the portrait was of Japanese influence.

In Georgette Chen’s self portrait, the colours used are mainly warm colours (beige, orange and red) with black and white. The shades of colours are also rather faint and earthen. In this self portrait, Georgette Chen uses smoother and longer brushstrokes that blend into one another seamlessly.This style, together with her traditional hairstyle and cheongsam implies the influence of Chinese and Shanghainese culture on her. In addition, Georgette Chen fully utilises the space in her painting by almost filling up the whole page with her face. The light which seems to be dimmer seems to be coming from the bottom of the painting. The naturalistic and harmonious colour used could perhaps be done to suggest her belonging to the Bourgeouise society.

c)Name another Southeast Asian artist, and describe another self-portrait. Interpret the artist’s intention from the named work.

Bayu Utomo Radjkin was another Southeast Asian artist from Sabah. A self portrait he did was ” Monologue at Tate Britain”. In this painting, the colours used are mainly analogous ( green, yellow and orange) as well as black. The portrait depicts the artist in the foreground, with corinthian pillars in the background. The artist is covering his mouth and seems to be in deep thought. The corinthian pillars in the background have designs with green origins. Also, on the painting, there are words which comes from a quotation from Romeo and Juliet “Art thou so bare and full of wretchedness. And fearist to die? Famine is in thy cheeks. Need and appreciates starvests in thine eyes. Contempt and beggary hangs upon thy back. The world is not thy friend nor the world’s law; the world offends no law to make thee rich;thee be not poor, but break it and take this.” This excerpt was a monologue of Romeo’s in the book. His intentions of writing this quote could perhpas be to epitomise the collision between two contradictory forces and conflicting desires; that of the individual and that of the society. His pose, which is covering his mouth also matches with the title of the work, which writes, “monologue”. This is also in conjunction with Romeo’s monologue. This is unlike the other works in this series which are “conversations”. He could perhaps be trying to emphasise the severity of the problems. The corinthian pillars are also artefacts from ancient Greece which were constructed as imposing structures and were regarded as beautiful. Also, the maple leaves imply Korean culture and could possibly be interpreted as a portal of time. It also could be used to give a naturalistic feel to the picture.