Transformation & Darkness
1/11/17 - 1/14/17
Opening reception: January 11, 7-9pm
Sabri Idrus (b. 1971) is a Malaysian artist who engages in
different disciplines and mediums as language according to his
artistic needs. Idrus combines painting, graphic design and
industrial materials to achieve a freed socio-cultural authoritative
opinion towards reinventing a new form of image. His interest
lies in developing works that reveal his critical notion of the social
condition and the parody of institutions that secure the definition
between painting and crafting. His confidence in art making,
particularly for painting as an inalienable social process,
submerges him in technical and material advancement through
The artist consciously dismisses elaborate or perfectionist
techniques and conventional components. Instead, he embraces
a blend of heterogeneous materials, such as grout powder,
polyester resin, roof seal plaster, rubber mix compound and
acrylic house paints that are foreign to most creative customs.
His specific concern with language is not only clear from his
choice of unpretentious titles, but is also present in his on-going
research. For about 20 years, Idrus has been constantly updating
a glossary that regularly appears in his catalogues in a
continually expanded and revised version.
The central reference point in Sabri’s work is the material, which
drove him from investigating the making of things to focusing
more on the composition of the elements themselves. Viewing
the artworks taps into bottom-up thinking and requires little to no
prior knowledge. It is the artist’s way of reaching euphoria, the
delight of an investigation that encompasses its tools, techniques
for making, and the nature of its materials.
In Idrus’s first showcase in New York, he shares the energizing
journey of his examination of transformation and darkness.
These two keywords, transformation and darkness have been
haunting me. Transformation of a place or object to something else can
be good or bad. I recall an old Malay metaphor, ‘Seperti katak dibawah
tempurung’, (a frog under a coconut shell is content to remain under the
shell without care of what goes on outside the shell). Murkiness secures
him. The shell is the whole world as far as the frog is concerned, and it
is oblivious to light.
This show is part of his research process for a postgraduate
review in Creative Practice with the Transart Institute, 2015-2017.
Image on Shell, industrial material on canvas, 70 x 96 inches, 2016