PSYCHE

Hillyer Art Space

Washington DC, USA
July 5 – 26, 2013
presented by International Arts & Artists

In the Asian world, the concept of face embodies dignity, honour and reputation. By extension, the face idiomatically conveys a map of one’s life. If the eyes are a window to one’s soul, then the expression, the smile, the slight twitch of the nose, the hair casting a shadow – the symmetry or lack thereof – does more to reveal the lives and stories within, going beyond face value.

In this show, Rofi embarks on a psychological study of the face. He paints faces of people caught in a myriad of circumstances, metaphorically conveying a man struggling in stormy seas, a society oppressed, a woman empowered, a public deluged by mass media and the courage of a community.

Rofi’s show is titled ‘Psyche’, but he seems most interested in the surfaces of the human countenance. The Singapore artist boldly divides faces into a series of planes, although he doesn’t distort their geometry with cubist vehemence. The starkest aspect of his work comes from mixed-media additions, including metal shards, barbed wire and the newspaper that obscures the top of one subject’s head. The menace in these works comes not from Rofi’s palette knife, but from external forces the artist doesn’t (or perhaps can’t) fully depict.
— Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post Online, Published July 20, 2013

The Imaginarium

Penang, Malaysia
4 October – 7 December, 2013
Press Conference and Reception: 4 October 2013
presented by Kaffa Espresso Bar

In the Asian world, the concept of face embodies dignity, honour and reputation. By extension, the face idiomatically conveys a map of one’s life. If the eyes are a window to one’s soul, then the expression, the smile, the slight twitch of the nose, the hair casting a shadow – the symmetry or lack thereof – does more to reveal the lives and stories within, going beyond face value.

In this show, Rofi embarks on a psychological study of the face. He paints faces of people caught in a myriad of circumstances, metaphorically conveying a man struggling in stormy seas, a society oppressed, a woman empowered, a public deluged by mass media and the courage of a community.


Galeri Chandan

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
13 December 2013 – 10 January, 2014

In the Asian world, the concept of face embodies dignity, honour and reputation. By extension, the face idiomatically conveys a map of one’s life. If the eyes are a window to one’s soul, then the expression, the smile, the slight twitch of the nose, the hair casting a shadow – the symmetry or lack thereof – does more to reveal the lives and stories within, going beyond face value.

In this show, Rofi embarks on a psychological study of the face. He paints faces of people caught in a myriad of circumstances, metaphorically conveying a man struggling in stormy seas, a society oppressed, a woman empowered, a public deluged by mass media and the courage of a community.

Visitors to Galeri Chandan are greeted with an entrance decorated with wire fence. This time, the exhibition features works by Malay Singaporean, Rofi, who started as a graphic designer and has spread his wings into the world of fine art. A total of 13 pieces of art work in a variety of media including charcoal, acrylic and fabric on canvas, with two pieces installed with wire link fence, adorn the walls of the gallery. These works have been featured at Hillyer Art Space, in Washington DC, USA and The Imaginarium, Georgetown, Penang, prior to coming to Galeri Chandan.

Based on the titles of the works and images presented, it appears Rofi is interested in portraiture and figurative works that inspire feelings of inner turmoil, trapped behind precise swabs of palette knives. Portraits are broken into planes like cubic fragments, that while sharp, do not create a harshness in the faces. ‘Speak Your Mind, But Mind Your Speech’ features a man seemingly suffering in the tangle of barbed wire as he is forced to be careful with his speech. ‘Guide Me’ combines the face of a Malay woman staring upwards, weaved into motifs of a batik, to appeal for God’s guidance (perhaps?).

The application of dark hues and a shiny finish resembles oil painting, but he uses acrylic paints. Nevertheless, the use of collage fabric looks quite awkward aside a well-executed acrylic treatment due to lack of surface treatment. ‘Padi’ for example, using fabric as ‘corduroy’, looks weak when viewed in person. ‘A Storm Brewing’ is the most impressive work in my mind, because the sense of anger in the face of the man is apparent under dark clouds.

‘Sinking’, is also a good example of the successful use of mixed media. Swathes of acrylic on the fabric (batik) strengthens the work surface texture. ‘No Trespassing’, a close up of a pink-nosed woman with red metal plate across her lips, as if forced to be silent.

Rofi, has travelled far in the field of visual arts. In addition to his work in the collection of the Singapore Art Museum, he has had shows in the United States, Netherlands, Belgium and China.
— Azliza Ayob, The Daily Seni, December 27, 2013