In and Beyond the Studio is an end of residency exhibition showcasing the works of artists Alecia Neo, Arabel Lebrusan and Latifah A.Stranack who work in very different ways. The exhibition journeys in and beyond the artists’ studios, showcasing a selection of finished outputs that each artist has been developing during their residency. Throughout the residency, there was an ongoing dialogue focused on processes and finished works, as well as, the role of the studio and what it means to each artist. By displaying finished outputs alongside documentation of how the artists execute their ideas, the exhibition provides a visual comparison that highlights the different methods and processes that shape the works.
In Stranack’s painting The Pursuit of Paradise, she weaves her mixed heritage, life stories and memories as she paints female figures in a traditional batoola mask, wedding dress and contemporary accessories such as the bum bag and earphones. She takes inspiration from historical and contemporary literature, films, fashion and music which are translated into vibrant coloured paintings, to empower women from all walks of life.
Meanwhile, Lebrusan travels to different landscapes in search of rocks and soils to be used as part of her experimental sculptures, Rock Hybrids. She severs decorative figures of animals and dolls, before combining them with soap and rocks to make hybridised forms that symbolise our interconnectivity with Nature – how we are not separate from the Earth but are one.
As part of her wider project The Care Index, Alecia has been collaborating with dancers and other practitioners to run interactive workshops that encourage participants to work with body gestures and domestic materials. This has informed her fabric installation, Recipes of Wayfinding, a patchwork simulacra of human skin that is currently on display at the Esplanade Singapore. Through these different processes, her work encourages audiences to reflect on how we may empathise with others and re-situate ourselves in this turbulent and changing period, when Covid-19 is still prevalent and global conflicts are intensifying amidst the ongoing climate crisis.
Although each artist has a contrasting notion of the studio, all agree that it is a critical element in the production of their work. The exhibition raises the question whether the ‘studio’ is simply a space capable of accommodating physical needs, or a seminal phase for contemplation and reflection. In and Beyond the Studio works towards articulating the profound influence that the studio has on our thinking and practice, perhaps even defining us as artists or creative practitioners. No matter how one describes the studio, physically or intellectually, it encapsulates the process that leads to a finished piece of work.