Lauren Lee

Lauren Lee

Lauren Jeyoon Lee was born in Maryland, USA and moved to South Korea when she as four. She spent most of her teenage years in Singapore and returned to USA to receive her education in Fine Arts. Lauren is currently a grad student from Yale University and is spending three weeks in Rimbun Dahan as an Open Residency artist. Lauren’s a sculptor who works with found objects and clay. Her working process heavily involves writing that are often reduced as titles to inform and create narratives for visual elements.

A pair of large plastic breasts labeled “Super Droopers.”
A two feet long rubber chew toy with orange bulbs on both ends.
A red SOLO cup full of half-thawed chicken feet.
A bag full of Joshua Nelson’s beard.
A petri dish with mice fetuses.
A burnt-out glue gun with strands of blonde hair around it.
Aqua beads soaked in black vinegar.
A picture of my five-year-old-self crying with chewing gum glued over my boobs. A plastic bag of flesh toned cosmetic sponges.

A bag of make-up sponges sold for $1.29. I opened it and took a sniff. It smelled like my mother’s pillow. My mother spent every Sunday night with me. She would leave my grandparents’ house the next morning for work. I always believed I could cling on to her. It never worked. My grandfather would wake me up instead in his bright blue sweatpants that smelled like his medicine cabinet. So I would bury my face in my mother’s pillowcase to smell her instead. My grandfather would then carry me to the living room and lay me down on a leather sofa. It felt cold even on summer days. That was my Monday morning until I grew tall enough to realize how childish it is to feel that empty.

I have been reliving my childhood since then. Hiding behind the weight of cultural and religious issues, I laughed at traditional values imposed on me and unresolved resentment the Korean War had left on my grandparents. When I moved to Singapore in sixth grade, I witnessed my mother’s loneliness as a woman away from her lover. When I came to America, I witnessed middle-aged adults, self-proclaimed children of God, be possessed with petty jealousy over the death of a family member. I now maliciously poke fun at the emotional conflicts and complex feelings adults engaged in, with different materials, from a glamorous piece of bronze to a cheap clump of fake hair.

So I started collecting. I collect cheap things that trigger feelings of shame; humiliation; regret; disgust; and sometimes humor. I frequent local dollar stores, beauty supplies, pet shops and sex shops to rummage through things. Some give me immediate answers and others have eldritch noise. I spend time with them. I wrestle with them. Most of them are willing to work with me at first. They would bend, squish, tear and bond themselves, as I demand. Soon they start to rebel. They straighten themselves up, separate from the others and refuse to be put back together. Like a frustrated, demented child, I angrily pierce, nail, shove and tighten them. Some give in, others refuse. They are awkwardly and precariously put together. I see myself in them, insignificant and small, yet screaming to validate my existence to someone.

During her stay in Rimbun Dahan, Lauren plans to create assemblages and drawings specific to this place, informed by the interactions with people, locals and expats that she’ll meet. Lauren will be with us throughout July 2018.

Nicholas Choong

Nicholas Choong

A go-to conceptual artist for agencies and brands like MRT Gamuda, Uber Malaysia, Tiger Beer, restaurants as well as Accounting & PR Firms in Malaysia – Nicholas Choong is no stranger to the visual arts and design world.

He studied watercolors under a mentor at the age of 13 and when he was 16 he learnt Graphic Design and Photography working as a Production Assistant in the film industry.

By the time he was 19, Nicky (a moniker he goes by sometimes) was already working in the events, music & entertainment industry. The next 17 years of his life was spent working and raising a family before he began painting again in 2011. In 2014 he helped shape (and was the first artist in residence for) the sembilan Art Residency Programme in Seremban. During that time he also mentored under Wei Ling Gallery and has continued to exhibit his work in group and solo shows up till this day.

In 2015 he opened his own studio, Satu Arts and continued to perfect his craft. Nicky also dabbled in installations and collaborative mural projects. In 2016, he began his foray into video production and has since then worked as a director, Art Director and Creative Director in the media and corporate world. In his traditional paintings, Nicholas works in a series based format and is known for his strong ink and line work.

During my residency at Rimbun Dahan I’d like to explore the relationships between the environment (source materials) and mediums available to me (video, photography, paintings) and create a body of work that resonates on all levels to create a story.

Here you can find interviews he’s done/been a part of on BFM (with Jael Estrella and solo), The Star, and Chalk and Raddy. To find out more about Nick’s work, you can check his Website, Facebook, Youtube, or Instagram.

Carlos Carvalho

Carlos Carvalho

Originally from Brazil, in the last three years Carlos Carvalho has been living in Asia, first India, now in Indonesia. Using crafts techniques and everyday materials, like textiles (mostly felt), paper, cardboard and paint, he builds topographies. Those topographies are found through the combination and juxtaposition of shapes cast from his body. His process is time consuming and repetitive, almost meditative.

My body is the center of my work, my body is queer and I’m gay. Thinking queerness in places where it’s not welcome or allowed is what is going through my mind. Especially because Brazil is also facing a conservative wave right now that is pressing against women, LGBTIs and the African-Brazilian population.

At Rimbun Dahan, being in the middle of all this green I wonder about things that hide in the vegetation, in the bushes. Being mostly by myself, this also brings about the idea that things that we fear hide in the dark, among the plants. I decided to play with the idea of camouflage as a starting point, as we can think of animals that hide. I mock the hunter animal print over the casts taken from my own body – I fear they are part of each of us, that they are constituents of our minds. This is supposed to be a turning point of the dynamics of fear. The body parts originating from the queer-gay body to become the element that hides and hunts, I put the body in a position of power and control, which is what the queer body needs to have in today’s reality.

Find more of Carlos’s work at his website, and his instagram accounts: @carhencarvalho and @carloscarvalhoart

Kelvin Atmadibrata

Kelvin Atmadibrata

Kelvin Atmadibrata (b.1988, Jakarta, Indonesia) recruits superpowers awakened by puberty and adolescent fantasy to assemble formidable armies of outlaws. Equipped by shōnen characters and macho ero-kawaii, his antiheroes contest the masculine and erotic in Southeast Asia. He works primarily through performances, often accompanied by and translated into drawings, mixed media collages and objects compiled as installations.

During his residency in Rimbun Dahan, he plans to expand a narrative that is triggered by a Malayan historical figure, Laksamana Cheng Ho. He seeks to learn the Admiral’s influence in today’s society, in particular in regards to his masculine identity and how it has potentially structured the perception of power, race and religion in modern politics. This will also be motivated by cultural findings during his stay in Malaysia, discussions and exchanges with locals as well as his constant interest in virtual RPG elements.

The resulting project is described and photographed below (performance photos by Nazir Azhari). Kelvin updated his progress in weekly blog-like entries on his website.

Tidal Bulge is the rise and fall of masculinity caused by the combined effects of gravitational forces exerted by one’s racial and economic status and the self conflicts.

Initiated by the interest towards Laksamana Cheng Ho’s treasure fleet, the project navigates around Malaysian Chinese masculine identities by figuring various struggles faced. Approached through RPG game theories, the visual aspects of the works are designed to be decided by the participants in forms of paper collages and their performed elements.

The participants are imagined as crews or sailors of a treasure fleet in voyage. Sea travels utilize lunar navigation as compass which also becomes the underlying historical prescriptions of the Chinese ethnicity throughout Malaya Peninsula. Apart from that, other game characters-based visual decisions are motivated by Malaysian cultural elements that suggest close proximity and relevance to astrology and the science of gravity.   Within social context, this participatory work is a plea towards racial and ethnic representation, their potential of indigeneity as well as its masculine connotation within Malaysia.

 

ERYN @ Winnie Cheng

ERYN @ Winnie Cheng

ERYN uses a combination of pen and marker drawing, watercolour, acrylic painting and papercutting techniques to create meticulously detailed compositions filled with strange creatures in an otherworldly setting. Her use of fine lines to create form is largely inspired by book illustrations and the comic and animation industry. She focuses on themes of introversion and looking inwards to reflect on the interactions she experiences in her daily life.

These themes of introversion plays out in imaginary landscapes inspired by lush tropical rainforests, the frozen arctic plains, and even the dry unforgiving desert. Each landscape is shaped by thoughts and emotions in her mind and the process is at once aware yet unconscious. These landscapes are also removed from the mundane laws of physics, gravity, and proportion. Through this the artist creates a dreamlike quality in order to bring the viewer into an inner space to experience both the mysterious and the extraordinary.

ERYN was in residency at Hotel Penaga from September to November 2016. Her residency culminated in a one day exhibition, Strange Botanicals, in the hotel’s Reading Room. You can view photos here on Facebook.

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Sharon Chin

Sharon Chin

Sharon Chin (b.1980, Petaling Jaya) is an artist and writer living in Port Dickson, a seaside town two hours drive from Kuala Lumpur.

She makes all kinds of things in all kinds of places, from galleries to city sidewalks. She’s hung sails across an embassy lobby, listened to strangers’ hearts on the streets of Sydney, and gotten teargassed while wearing a costume of yellow flowers. Recently, she bathed in public with a hundred people for “Mandi Bunga/Flower Bath”, a project at Singapore Biennale 2013, and painted weeds on political party flags for the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Queensland, Australia.

During her three month 2016 residency at Hotel Penaga, Sharon will be working on a series of linocut illustrations for writer Zedeck Siew’s short story collection about fantastic animals and plants, tentatively titled ‘Local Flora, Local Fauna.’ An exhibition of the prints will be held from 23 July – 7 August 2016 at Run Amok, which is located at Hin Bus Depot Art Centre on Jalan Gurdwara in Georgetown.

For more of Sharon and her work, you can visit her website.

Photo Credit to Azrul K Abdullah for Esquire Malaysia

Bridie Gillman

Bridie Gillman

Bridie Gillman’s practice is grounded in her experiences of living in Indonesia when she was younger and further experience of being ‘in-between’ places and cultures since. Her work explores ways in which experiences of awkwardness and the ‘unknown’ can be translated through found materials, installation and photography.

Gillman is an emerging artist based in Brisbane, Australia and completed her Bachelor of Fine Art with Honours at Queensland College of Art in 2013. Since graduating she has conducted a residency in Indonesia and exhibited nationally and internationally.

She was in residency at Hotel Penaga from August to October 2015, where she researched the transient space of hotels, tourism and souvenirs in our increasingly globalised and transnational world. Her residency culminated in an exhibition titled Round Island Tour, held at Run Amok Gallery in Georgetown. For more information on her work, visit her website.

left:  Souvenir: Tropical Fruits of Malaysia 2015, oil on canvas. right: In Thailand I got a girl in every club 2015, oil on canvas board.

left: Souvenir: Tropical Fruits of Malaysia 2015, oil on canvas. right: In Thailand I got a girl in every club 2015, oil on canvas board.

Left: Sprite at night 2015, Batik painting. Right: Local Lingo 2015, Set of 6 digitally printed postcards, edition of 100

Left: Sprite at night 2015, Batik painting. Right: Local Lingo 2015, Set of 6 digitally printed postcards, edition of 100.

Kriss Wong

Kriss Wong is a self-taught visual artist from Malaysia. Her artistic expressions are closely related to nature, community and cultural heritage through videography, photography, drawings, poetry and a variety of mediums.

She has worked for non-governmental organizations, written freelance for travel magazines, taught arts to children and worked as visual artist at music festivals such as LUSH Bangkok Music Festival, Culture One International Dance Music Festival, Stone Free Music Festival and so one.

Kriss Wong has participated in numerous artist residency programs such as The Overstay residency program (Bangkok), Penaga Residency at Hotel Penaga (Penang), Yunnan Arts Can Do Residency Program and Shanghai Arts Can Do Residency Program.

Kriss Wong has been involved in community art projects both in Yunnan and Shanghai since 2015, which includes conducting art classes and working on site specific art projects at Longlin Primary School in Yunnan and Jiuqian Centers in Shanghai. Her long-term residency in China is jointly sponsored by Shanghai Jiuqian Volunteer Center and Australia China Art Foundation.

Traveling plays an important part in her artistic expressions because she is very much inspired by new experiences and new encounters through cross-cultural exchanges.

Kriss was a Hotel Penaga resident artist in October 2014. To find out more about her work, visit her website.