Artists Jamie Tan (left) & Jamie Teo (right)

By Xenia Bapasola

Artists have often been inspired by the elements of aesthetics, working to understand and subjectify them, and ultimately bringing their beauty into the viewer’s awareness. Jamie Tan and Jamie Teo are two such artists struck by the magnificence and immensity contained within the colour field. Having met almost fatedly in Lasalle College of the Arts during their Baccalaureate, their exhibition, Offline Colour, seemed to be one of destiny. On display in Art Porters Gallery, their work invites the viewers to look at colour as having a character of its own, rather than just a display on the screen or used as trivial decorations.

Art Porters Gallery, co-owned by Guillaume Levy-Lambert and Sean Soh, has been immensely supportive of Tan’s and Teo’s work while recognizing their talent and potential since their graduation in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Despite their similar interests, their artistic methodologies are vastly different and yet complement the other’s perfectly within the gallery space.

Jamie Tan’s work uses precise measurements to define each colour tone with almost architectural precision to create great swathing fields of depth within the 2D surface. His paintings invite the viewer to walk directly into the colour field, losing oneself within the enormity of subtle tonal variations. “I have always been curious about how the simplicity of tonal values allow you to experience a sense of depth and movement without any form of trickery.” Tan said when asked about his process. “To me, it was pure and powerful and what makes it more complicated is the aspect of colour involved in their arrangement that influences the focal point in the overall composition.” Tan’s mastery over colour arrangement can only be obtained through various experiments and commitment to his practice.

Tempo (2) | Jamie Tan | Oil on linen | 30cm × 40cm

Tempo (9) | Jamie Tan | Oil on linen | 30cm × 40cm

The precision in Tan’s artwork is accompanied to perfection by the fluidity in Teos’. The expanse of gently blended tones broken with the sudden inclusion of powerful and yet subtle texture allows the viewer to disappear within Teo’s Colourscapes into a space often defined by their own psychological connotations. Teo opens her work to the audience’s interpretation willingly, fascinated with what they see within her fluid and dreamlike paintings. “I like to play with the idea that these points (of texture) represent ‘an edge’ of recognizing something that resembles a sunset, a wave, or the feeling of drowning. This tension allows the audience to recognise something of their own. I can give them just enough space to piece their specific shape of a puzzle together so that what they see is entirely unique to them alone, creating a situation where the ending is up for the viewers to conclude on their own.” Teo’s mastery over blended colour compositions create an artwork that is almost fantastical with a living breathing soul ebbing forth from her canvas.

Untitled (Phthalo Blue, Dioxazine Purple & Turquoise Green) | Jamie Teo | Oil on linen | 170cm × 120cm

Untitled (Naples Rose, Neutral Grey, Manganese Violet & Ultramarine Blue) | Jamie Teo | Oil on linen | 90cm × 120cm

Untitled (Manganese Violet, Titanium White, Yellow Ochre & Vermillion) | Jamie Teo | Oil on linen | 120cm × 150cm

Together, the two artists consolidated their exhibition within a single joined piece, using both meticulous planning and artistic instinct to create a single work that marries both their expressions of colour in perfect harmony. Having painted the gallery walls themselves in a permanent installation at Art Porters Gallery, their exhibition is a true testament to the grit and persistence of the artists who can thrive even during a pandemic. Tan and Teo both encourage young artists to showcase their works with every opportunity they can, and not be disheartened by the struggles of the working artist, but rather, to be kind to oneself and pursue one’s passion with fervour.

Offline Colour | Jamie Tan & Jamie Teo | Oil on linen | 140cm × 180cm