Thu, 05 Oct 2000

Singaporean potters keep works unique

By Pandaya

SINGAPORE (JP): If you have an eye for pottery you should make every effort to pay a visit to the Paragon shopping complex on Orchard Road in Singapore.

Paragon is a well-known spot among lovers of contemporary Asian visual arts, offering visitors a wide array of choices, from painting, sculpture to ceramics.

Of particular fascination is an ongoing clayware exhibition by Singaporean artists at The Gallery. Inside, one will find playfully titled ceramics exhibition Claytivity 2000.

It is an annual art event and the very "claytive" Singaporean artists showing off their prowess are Chua Soo Kim, Lai Lee Choo, Jean Lee Say Ying, Jimmy Lee Jin Cheong, Lien Lian Sze, Lim Chong Beng, Ng Eang Teng, Jacqueline Ng, John Tan Peng and Tan Tuan Yong.

A hallmark of these potters, associated with Studio 106, is their diversity and design. Each of the artists has a distinctive style and perception of visual art forms.

Some of the potters express their artistic ideas through figurines and abstract forms, while others use their work to represent their social concerns.

In Where Have All the Forests Gone I and II, Lai Lee Choo laments the loss of the precious forest. The two works depict two barren islands on which there are only a few remaining trees, and nothing else.

Ng Eng Teng, who has been a painter, potter and sculptor for 45 years, has four dynamic works based on the theme of children and parents. His Like Father Like Son, Riding High and Out of Hand are humorous and full of human touches. They tempt you to crack a smile -- if you have managed to bring along your sense of humor.

Some of the works on display are functional, esthetic or both, as represented in the works of Lien Lian Sze and Peng Chien.

"Ceramics is one of the pleasures of civilized living, giving joy to both the creator as well as the beholder," Lian Sze says.

Peng Chien's works are functional, although not specifically utilitarian.

If you like abstract pieces, look to the works of Jacqueline and Jimmy. While Jacqueline focuses on figurines, she recently has begun experimenting with the abstract.

"I can find more freedom of expression (in the abstract)," she says. Her works are done in natural clay color with the occasional application of slip, stain and a touch of glaze.

Jimmy works as a supplier of pottery materials to a number of countries, including Indonesia, and he acknowledges that creating pottery is a mere hobby.

"I don't believe I can survive as an artist," he told The Jakarta Post. "Singaporeans love the works of foreign artists more."

Aside from seeking innovation, the artists continue to strive to keep their styles unique. While Eng Teng specializes in the theme of parents and children, Tuan Yong creates pieces based on teapots, related vessels and associated activities, such as drinking tea.

His philosophy is breaking free from the traditional view of things and events that shape one's way of thinking.

"New forms, lines, textures and materials are introduced to a teapot and thus stimulate a viewer to what it should look like or how it should be used," he says.