TIME/OUT - A solo exhibition by May Oon


TIME/OUT is a continuation of May Oon’s last series of works, OVER/TIME, shown in 2015. This time, the focus is still on Singapore’s early immigrant workers, but, with a difference – many of the pieces also depict coolies at rest.

As she references archival photographs which are of inferior quality, due to their age, Oon’s works are able to break away from photorealism and take on their own interpretation of modern realism.

Here she uses the humble sackcloth again, as a canvas for oils, to represent the hard labour that the workers had to endure. As for the charcoal drawings, Oon has taken on the challenge of drawing old Singapore street scenes (as well as one of the Singapore river).

She is drawn to the medium and, especially to mark-making, a process comprising repetitive rubbings and erasures to create intense shadows and light. The technique requires an enormous amount of labour by hand; Oon also eschews the use of projection of photographs on paper, preferring to work strictly with gridlines, making the imperfections part of the creative process.

When an artist takes a photographic image and redraws or repaints it, that photograph is lifted out and given heightened significance. By using archival photographs, Oon is giving viewers a new way of looking at these faded, often blurred images and giving them a new life.

Apr 27 - May 7, 2017
[ Thu ] - [ Sun ]
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM SGT
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Goshen Art Gallery