A Lack of Significance 《不重要的重要》
iPreciation (誰先覺), Singapore
10 Aug – 24 Aug 2019
iPRECIATION is delighted to present a solo exhibition by emerging young Singaporean artist Yeo Tze Yang 楊子揚, titled A Lack of Significance《不重要的重要》. An exceptionally talented painter, Yeo was awarded the Silver prize for the UOB Painting of the Year established category in 2016. His figurative, still-life and landscape artwork often encapsulates the everyday life in Singapore and its surrounding region. Recognising the sentimental value within the forgotten and neglected persons, objects and places of his immediate surroundings, Yeo finds it worthwhile to paint their stories. He believes in the unity of life and art, and envisions his works to speak for themselves to viewers of any background. He hopes that his artworks would inspire viewers to re-discover and appreciate everyday life in Singapore. Since young, art has always been Yeo’s favourite subject in school. However, it was only when he was in National Junior College, studying art history and under the influence of his art teacher, Lee Pheng Guan, that he began to start painting and developing his artistic practice. By the end of his Junior College years, he began to participate in exhibitions. Other than his teacher, Yeo’s father, Yeo Hong Peng, a commercial illustrator and Elaine Navas, a Filipino painter based in Singapore, also play a huge role in influencing his artistic practice. For Yeo, his father inspires him to paint figurative while he considers Navas as a close friend whom he has learnt a lot from. Yeo relates strongly to Navas’s artistic approach because he finds that both of them share a similar artistic philosophy and they would constantly be found engaging in deep discussions about life and art.
This exhibition will showcase 25 oil paintings which Yeo has laboriously worked on since early 2017. From an old man sitting in what seems like the middle of nowhere to a discarded lottery ticket, Yeo continues to memorialise the lives of ordinary people, paying particular focus on the neglected in our daily lives. The “Fruits and Vegetables Shop,” a major work spanning across six panels, is an impressive 180 by 466 centimeters painting which portrays Yeo’s re-imagination of a wet market in Singapore. The painting is detailed, containing a variety of fruits and vegetables, stacks of all kinds of boxes, a Singapore flag and the names of goods and prices scrawled on Styrofoam boards. Yeo’s portrayal of the local iconographies and the atmosphere of the wet market proposes an alternative to local identity based on Yeo’s retrospection of Singapore and its surrounding region. As Yeo said, these paintings “unveil and challenge ideas on localness that coincide with narratives of nationhood”.
A Lack of Significance《不重要的重要》 oxymoronically will bring significance to the insignificant, not only offering viewers a refreshing take on the old tradition of figurative painting, but also charging the banal with socio-political, metaphorical, psychological and spiritual possibilities.
By Yeo Tze Yang