Mat./Technique: Acrylic on paper
Dimensions: 74 x 195 cm.
Wyn-Lyn Tan (Singapore 1974-) has a BA in Fine Arts from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and a Master in Fine Arts from the Tromso Academy of Contemporary Art in Norway. She currently lives and works in Singapore.
Tan works with paintings, installations and videos, and her fascination with natural landscapes and how they connect across time and culture drives her practice. Her paintings often build on the notion of ‘absence as presence,’ where the act of erasure leads to traces and residues that make visible the absent. She is also interested in the nature of spaces, both metaphysical and physical, and their evocative power. In recent years, her explorations of form, space, light and perception have led to works that question the dichotomy between the two- and three-dimensional.
Trained in traditional Chinese ink painting and Western painting, her work has developed a contemporary visual vocabulary that often straddles between East and West. Her paintings dance between nature and abstraction, occasionally slipping into the reminiscence of a Chinese landscape. Beginning with a sum of random mark-making, she works towards a place where things no longer feel arbitrary and the work takes over. What begins as a first mark can eventually be obliterated and washed over with a journey of marks that suggest a constant dialogue between artist and canvas.
She has been the recipient of several international scholarships and has been awarded various artist residences. Her works can be found in the permanent collection of the Singapore Art Museum, and have been exhibited in Singapore, New York, Norway, Finland and Beijing.
This painting has been commissioned specifically for the Singapore office and draws inspiration from Tan’s relationship with nature. Her artistic practice is driven by a fascination with remote natural landscapes and how they connect across time and culture. Landscape, time and space are seen to be fluid constructs of culture, and the resulting works tie in with the artist's interest in the interconnectivity between East and West.
Much of her work has been based on travels to unfamiliar and distant landscapes in the Northern Hemisphere, which she visited during hers studies in Norway. Her affinity with the North ties in with her Chinese sensibilities, as she finds a resonance in the vastness seen in the North, with the elusive concept of emptiness in Chinese landscape paintings. She is also interested in the nature of spaces, both metaphysical and physical, and their evocative power.
Being this close to nature has also made her reflect even further on the ecology of the land. The environmental, economic, political and scientific issues affecting the Arctic region intrinsically links and affects the rest of the world. The Arctic may seem remote, but its climate changes have far-reaching effects, including rising sea levels that could submerge coastal areas, including Singapore.
Furthermore, her work has always been inspired by water and the oceans, with water often being used as a metaphor for time, memories, fluidity and journeys. She is interested in the stones that are carried on the seas and washed up on shores. The Arctic Ocean connects the East and the West, and we are in fact all connected more closely than we think.
Moving beyond the 'landscape', the act of mark-making is as much a subject. It is an unconscious act in the making where marks get layered over, and new ones overtake. The layering that goes into each painting eventually forms the narrative. Her material process of painting constituting of gestural markmaking and atmospheric tonalities is akin to traversing over unfamiliar landscapes, which leads to the discovery of new vistas and emotional terrains.
Her abstract paintings, while contemporary in style, seeks inspiration from traditional Shan Sui Hua (山水画) landscape paintings. As in Chinese paintings, the indelible mark of the black inked brush features prominently in her works. An extensive use of water in her painting process, also often result in works that recall the alchemy of ink on rice paper.