NN Gallery is proud to host Estonís Tan solo exhibition. His new works capture the stunning views of a city at night when she is lit by the buildings, the streetlamps and the moving lights of vehicles weaving through the streets. There are twenty large scale paintings in oils painted over two years, with a concentration on painting night scenes from the various places where he recently held his exhibitions.
In the last two years Eston has held solo exhibitions in Budapest, Vienna, Taipei and now in Kuala Lumpur and will again hold his solo at the Penang State Museum in January 2012. All these cities are honoured in this series of works for this exhibition.
The first painting of a night scene was executed in 1993 for his solo exhibition Thoughts on Life. The painting took him 6 years to complete. The painting shows a stall vendor selling chinese herbal medicine at the night market. To his left, a young girl sits waiting for a consultation and in front of him, a young man propped on his motorcycle waits to receive the prescribed medicine. Behind the stall stands a young mother holding her child amidst the goings-ons of the market square. The scene is illuminated by the single light hanging from the roof of the stall, shining onto the faces and the clothes just as it glistens onto the metal vessels of the stalls and the motorcycle.
The new works continue with his fascination with the night lights. Previously he had painted scenes of Pulau Ketamís (an island with floating wooden houses) bustling sounds of trawling fishing boats and rickety wooden jetties. He painted a pair of boats docked at the pier with just a glimpse of their silhouettes from the moonlight. The brooding imagery of the two boats, side by side, evoked a stillness and quietude akin to the plight of two fishermen at the end of a busy day.
This exhibition entitled 26˚C expresses his concern for the environment. As nice as it is to have our cities glistening with light at night and our buildings cool like the winter months, he believes that we can all do our part to save the planet. Campaigns around the world have maintained that by setting the air-conditioning to the said temperature of 24 degrees Celsius, at home and in public buildings, will save energy and improve our environment through a reduction in carbon emissions.
His paintings celebrate both nature and the man made. Architectural elegance of Europe and Asia are depicted in equal regard, as he makes the contrast and similarities between the new and old worlds. From centuries old buildings in Europe to iconic steel and glass structures are painted from an aerial perspective under the night sky to adorn the natural landscape. It is as if the artist is hovering in the sky, be it up on a mountain peak or from a window of a plane, taking in the view.
His use of perspective directs the viewerís gaze to the architectural designs of the various cities and at the same time makes one aware of the expanse of space and the surrounding natural landscape. In his large depictions of cityscapes, vertical and horizontal lines of the motorways meets at various junctions which lead to a central focus resulting in an impression that the viewer is engulfed into the picture plane. The contrast between the picturesque and the divine is further emphasized by the painterly strokes of the sky above giving a sense of a hierarchical order, of balance, movement and proportion to the works.
There exists a traditional sensibility in his works with an eye for modernist concerns as he combines the layering of two artistic styles. Firstly he uses an impressionist style to create a defined imagery and finishes with an overlay of an expressionist splattering of paint to form speckled dots with a spectrum of colours covering the entirety of his canvasses, which lets us ponder and allows our eyes to mix the colours ourselves. In instances of street scene paintings, we see his dramatic flair compounded. His mastery of perspective provides for an atmospheric experience, as if we are part of the paintings walking down the streets along with other passersby and amidst the people sitting outside the cafes. The dotted specks of colours give his paintings a whimsical and somewhat surreal effect, much like painted interpretation of the stained glass.
Through these imagery paintings, Eston has captured various views which encapsulates the beauty of our land. He has embraced the rich and diverse cultures of the places he has been to and translated them into paintings for us to enjoy. We would like to congratulate Eston for this stunning body of work, and with a shared hope, we trust that the beauty of this planet, with new and old traditions will evolve in harmony.