Wyn-Lyn Tan: A Matter of Time

FOST Gallery is delighted to present the new works by Wyn-Lyn Tan.

In A Matter of Time, ‘matter’ alludes to both the inevitability of time, as well as material substances. Tan’s new series of work employs the use of clear plexiglass and metal, for the first time, as substrates to examine painting’s relationship with time, perception, and space.

As light from the surroundings pour through her paintings on plexiglass blocks and discs, painting becomes more than two-dimensional. It takes on a visual echo of the space it sits in; it is no longer static, but perceived in a continuum of time and space. Every subtle shift of perception offers a different viewpoint, where light and shadow, reflections and refractions turn a painting into part substance, part illusion – both form and void.

Tan is also increasingly interested in the affect of material surfaces and how it informs the act of painting. Her practice is driven by an intuitive process where she works without a preconceived image of the final composition, allowing the imagery to surface spontaneously. Each brush stroke informs the next mark that follows, which in turn adds its own rhythm to the work. Each of these marks can be thought of as a transient kind of memory. A trace of the past (brush mark) informs the present and the future. She elaborates, “The transparency of the plexiglass not only allows light to stream through the painting, it also offers, quite literally, a dissection of my paintings as even the under layers of brushstrokes are exposed. This would not have been possible on an opaque surface like canvas or wood. Every mark I make can be seen, and it is an exhilarating sense of release to lay them bare.”

Amongst the new works are five painted plexiglass discs, ranging from 50 to 90 cm in diameter, perched on individual custom-made plinths. She has never made free-standing sculptures of this size prior. She has also juxtaposed seven smaller plexiglass discs with four painted wood objects on long shelves, alluding to the landscapes of her imagination.

In the two metal paintings made in 2020, titled Anti-Matter, Tan eschews traditional paints, and instead ‘paints’ via alchemical reactions between the air and natural solutions applied to metal sheets. Unpredictability steers the works, allowing for the invisible energy of metal, moisture in the air, and time to react, and to become interwoven as means of ‘painting’. This reductive process sees her manipulating the natural oxidization of metal, deciding when to halt its process. The resulting patina dust is also turned into pigment and reintroduced into the works in liquid form. In doing so, time is nebulous as she constantly negotiates between the states of matter transitioning. Through repeated reduction and layering, the act of mark-making becomes both immediate and prolonged.

E-catalogue with exhibition essay by independent curator Tan Siuli will be published online in mid-February.

FOST Gallery
1 Lock Road #01-02, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 108932
+65 6694 3080

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Sun/Mon/Pub Holiday: Open by appointment