Writen by : Zena Khan
The eminent mixed media artist Mohd Noor Mahmud continues his exploration of traditional craft techniques in representing contemporary social themes with his work Alun I. The artist mixes acrylic with sawdust on canvas to achieve a raw, gravelly effect, which contrasts with the feminine color palette employed, and is nudged closer to the traditional process of wood carving.
Measuring 183 cm X 122 cm, Alun I reinforces Mohd Noor’s method of creating within the framework of traditional craft, and then con temporizing it in order to highlight the underlying social commentary. Previously, Mohd Noor favored working with fabric and batik which incorporated floral icons, but in this new work has moved closer to operating in the context of wood working, while retaining the essence of the floral elements formerly observed. The artist remarks that medium is crucial as a vehicle to communicate the content of his message, and in this vein the evolution of his methods reflect his personal growth and reveal new depths to his artistic abilities.
Mohd Noor views art as an artifact whose purpose is to communicate to the audience the implications of both the era in which it was created as well as the personality of the artist himself. He juxtaposes refinement and beauty with roughness and boldness to create understandings of levels both intellectual and visual. Alun I demonstrates this with its highly granular canvas surfaces, evoking natural textures found in rock formations, which could almost be seen as ongoing without the softness of the colors in the finish and the hint of a floral motif which vaguely recalls a likeness with batik, which he has employed in past works such as Siri Dikir Rambutan Rendang: Rebung (2008/2009).
By fusing traditional methods and motifs with a contemporary arrangement, Mohd Noor simultaneously opposes the movement of tradition and sparks new creations. Highlighting his statement that “the focus of material usage as medium is important in the process of production”, he presents to his audience evidence of his thorough knowledge of the physical characteristics of his materials as more than an added element, culminating in the presentation of new artwork that beautifully describes the shifting scene in contemporary Malaysia by marrying convention with innovation.
Artwork Caption :
Artist : Mohd Noor Mahmud
Title : Alun I
Size : 183cm x 122cm
Medium : Acrylic on Sandust on Canvas
Year : 2011