black on white

Come July till October: Aftermath of Fury is the umbrella title under which Fauzan Omar presents his two new paintings, Come July till October: Aftermath of Fury (White on Black) and Come July till October: Aftermath of Fury (Black on White). Created as an observational response to the haze that blights South East Asia each year between July and October, the pretty painterly works reflect Fauzan’s ongoing quest to create discourse about the changing landscapes of the world we live in, with a particular emphasis on nature.

Fauzan has created two contrasting canvases, one which is a black primed background featuring stark white flowers, and a second which has a clean white background with black foliage growing over the surface. Interspersed between the black leaves of the second piece are areas of grey, imitating smoke patterns wafting through leaves. The monochromatic palette and repeated organic patterns emphasize relief and a sense of luminosity pervades, established by the curt colour contrasts. It should be noted that the interplay of light and dark, while appearing simple and elegant, is the product of intensive detailing, a testament to Fauzan’s superior painterly skills in that he is able to create a three dimensional slightly gothic atmosphere simply with acrylic and acrylic emulsion on canvas.

While the colour choices may be simple, the exceedingly intricate overlapping composition, with its individually painted leaves and flowers, adds a layer of complexity that sits neatly alongside the complicated situation of the yearly haze. The artist questions, what is happening to nature and why?  Fauzan’s fascination with nature, plants and biodiversity is well documented and in this instance he employs it as a tool to raise discourse on mysteries, secrets, darkness and emptiness. The haze is a direct result of forest fires and burning, this action gives rise to the primary conceptual layer of darkness, represented by the black paint, and the process of trees turning to ash and charcoal as they burn. Death is represented by white, the colour of burial shrouds, a symbol of sparseness.

The second layer of meaning is perhaps even more crucial. Fauzan pushes the question of cause and effect of the haze on his audience, which cannot really be answered. Various groups and organizations each year offer individual, often conflicting, thesis or warnings on the origins of the fires, severity of the smoke and after effects, accusing assorted elements as being the root cause. The artist himself neither clarifies the differing opinions nor takes sides, instead he points it out as a mystery. The audience themselves, shown several possibilities as solutions, have to come to individual conclusions. In a way this layer of context reflects the purpose of contemporary art, in that it aims to raise questions and discourse on current events and provide a platform for society to sort through their own personal understandings in an effort to move forward intellectually, culturally and socially.

Highly respected in the Malaysian contemporary art scene, Fauzan has mentored several successful younger artists including Ahmad Shukri Mohamed. The fundamentals of depth of concept, experimentation and perfect technique that he emphasizes have had far reaching and obvious resonance in our art industry. It is the hallmark of a confident master that Fauzan is able to consistently tackle heavy social concepts in an engagingly pleasing aesthetic, cleverly pulling his audience in for a closer look before unleashing the breadth of his thesis upon them, with the quiet charm that naturally radiates from both the man himself and his work.

written by Zena Khan


artist                          : Fauzan Omar

type                            : acrylic & acrylic emulsion on canvas

dimension                : 156 x 309cm

price                          : RM 75, 000



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