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ALI NURAZMAL has long impressed with his Malaysia Contemporary figurative artworks in the realist style. DIAN PASQUINAL KAUR meets up with the artist for find out more about Alism, his latest exhibition at Core Design Gallery a Malaysia Contemporary Art gallery.

ALI NURAZMAL SHINES as a Malaysia Contemporary figurative painter with a generous glazing of imaginative realism. His style is instantly recognisable, larger –life paintings with playful inclusions of self as well as dexterous light play and manipulation of green and red hues. The realist figurative artist has been painting the human form since he was a young boy, but says that it’s only in the last 10 years that the status of this genre of paintings has risen. “During the 90s, figurative paintings were not very much in trend and Malaysia contemporary art wasn’t even recognized then. I returned to this path on a more serious note during my first solo, Satire in paint, in 2009 when Yusof Majid of Pace Gallery encouraged me to work on an exhibition,’’ recalls 34-year-old Nurazmal when met at his studio in Putra Heights, Subang Jaya.
He’s in the midst of complenting 17 massive paintings that will from the multifaceted contemplation of Alism, the underlying theme of his latest exhibition at Core Design Gallery. Unfinished paintings and completed works hang around this cocoon in which he has been spending a considerable amount of time in recent months. Oil paint tubes, palettes and brushes lay about as if waiting to render their services. His latest exhibition Alism a Malaysia contemporary art exhibition is an exploration of his identity, a reflection of his life journey and a path to a new ism and a fresher art from. “Only after Picasso died was his work called Cubism and Jason Pollock’s labeled abstract expressionism even before he knew it. This is my way of creating my own ism instead of waiting for others to form an opinion about me and my works,’’ Says the Penangite. In the past four years, all of his figurative paintings have been a manifestation of his earlier works, a retrospect of his journey as an artist. “Alism is about me,’’ he says with a smile. Far from being narcissist, Nurazmal claims he is merely becoming one with his self-portraits. “I see myself as an entertainer although I never had the chance to be on the silver screen. So I insert myself onto the canvas. The imageries in my work are humorous and witty while appearing bizarre in their context. Imitation Master-After Caravaggio II is ornate and elaborate to camouflage the real idea. Only at close inspection will you discover the dark side and the cynicism in the issues of today’s contemporary lifestyle.” he says. Imitation Mater-after Caravaggio’s II, reminiscent of the great Caravaggio’s The Calling of Saint Matthew, is the show –stopper of Alism. Nurazmal tell me it’s a gathering of like-minded opportunists: “The cigarette is out of place in relation to the attire of the subject. The cigarette is seen as the article of trade that will bring a windfall,” he explains. Also spotted in this large painting is Nurazmal who is beckoning others to look into the rare product, never-before-seen in the 1600s. It look Nurazmal about six months to lay his first stroke on the canvas, after which an unstoppable force look over until he completed the painting. The painting is a continuation of Imitation piece created by Nurazmal for his first solo in 2009. He left his mark as a figuration painter and solidified his reputation in the industry as more than one-hit wonder. Nurazmal cleverly employs chiaroscuro in his first and second Imitation Master-After Caravaggio, where the ‘ligh-dark’ in Imitation Master-After Caravaggio II, the light filters in through an opening on the right while luminosity of the painting is enhanced through another source of fire used to light the cigarette the old master never cease to amaze Nurazmal. To match their ideas, skill and effort is too daunting, he says, for every one of their pieces reverberates with pieces and serenity, unlike his life that’s fazed by a multitude of distraction. “I push myself in terms of perseverance, focus and most importantly, energy. I want to immerse myself in a major painting for a year like the old master used to do. It’s not easy. Not many artists today have the patience or luxury to work relentlessly on such a massive oil painting featuring eight figures,’’ he says. Satisfaction fills me after picking the brains of an artist of a different sort. I let Nurazmal get back to his work; he is clearly having fun with Alism. His imagination stretches far and wide and his wit is definite. He is the one Malaysia Contemporary Artist to watch out for.

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