TRUTH BE TOLD: Recent thotz abt painting ppl

SOLO EXHIBITION (2022)
Fost Gallery, Singapore

 
 

TRUTH BE TOLD: Recent thotz abt painting ppl

Solo exhibition

FOST Gallery, Singapore

21 May - 23 July 2022

FOST Gallery is delighted to announce 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.

Stephanie Fong, Founding Director of FOST Gallery, states:
“I am very pleased to be finally working with Tze Yang. I have been watching his practice ever since he  won the Silver Award at the UOB Painting of the Year in 2016. His paintings of everyday life evoke a gamut of human emotions, which go beyond who we are and where we come from.”

Yeo Tze Yang says in 2019:
“I [want] a simplicity to the approach of my paintings, one that didn’t require a deep knowledge of art and art history to understand, but only required the heart; to feel, as that was the very way I approach the paintings too.”

Read the exhibition essay here

View the exhibition catalogue here