Unnatural History Drawings uses William Farquhar's comprehensive compilation of Natural History Drawings as a point-of- departure. The work is anencyclopeadic vision in 3 parts, with subjects—Cicadas, Moths and Orchids—in direct correlation with each other. The works unravel chronologically from 2014-2017 with accompanying documents. In parts, the works have been shown in Los Angeles (2014) and Hong Kong (2015), with the complete trilogy showing in Singapore in 2017.
Cicadas begins the Unnatural History Drawings series, whose approach is derived from the taxonomy of museum specimen classi fication systems. Presented as an installation with shaped canvases and sound, Cicadas draws from the unique life cycle of periodical cicadas to navigate other potential strategies in the implementation of painting, where a work in its form can be modular and/or modulated like a cicada's pitched mating cry.
A cicada’s cry represents the collective latent energy of the insect and a mass uprising of its kind. Disappearing underground in dormancy for years, cicadas emerge in great force until nature is ready to invade, consume, and overwhelm. Enclosures are swept open, others left ajar as insects gather and crawl up to the surface, where they project a call in an explosive and rhythmic hiss. The titles describe the cicadas in progression, a body1, a wing2, carapace3, pupils4, enclosures5, a hinge6, unhinged7, castanets8, metronomes9, and a reverb contained10.
Moths is the second part of the Unnatural History Drawings series, whose approach is derived from Darwin’s hypothesis of the existence of a moth with an extremely long proboscis which pollinates an orchid with an exceptionally long nectary. Presented as a series of paintings, sometimes as objects, Moths draws upon the evolution of moths alongside the evolution of an orchid it pollinates while chronicling a passage of time where moths, already pressured by their short life span having to dry their wings after the rain. The shaped paintings are derivations from their physiognomy: parabolic curves that flip and fold; a temporal sharpness, vertices; a certain roundness; and loops in their wing pattern which will be emphasised in an audio narration of moth taxonomy (2017). The works’ formal qualities harks back from the earlier interests in making spatial possibilities with all-over screen print on paintings, as seen in the Ultrasound series11.
In a crepuscular landscape12, several scenarios are described in progression: the moths range of wing movement as it dries itself after the rain, while a vibratory pattern is scattered on its wingspan13; the moth simplifying its own form, as its wings are tucked in14; a seismic monitor for a passing of time15 ; a system of remembering (at times forgetting)16 ; a slow pivot and detachment from the wall17.
-Genevieve Chua, September 2016
1 Cicadas #1 (2014)
2 Cicadas #2 (2014)
3 Cicadas #7 Carapace in Deep Purple (2014)
4 Cicadas #8 Pupils (2014)
5 Cicadas #9 Daytime Enclosure ; Cicadas #14 Nightime Enclosure (2014)
6 Cicadas #11 Hinge X (2014)
7 Cicadas #10 Hinge U (2014)
8 Cicadas Castanets #3 ; #4 ; #5 ; #15 (2014)
9 Cicadas #12 Metronome U (2014)
10 Cicadas #6 Reverb in Safety Orange (2014)
11 Ultrasound #7 ; #8 (2012)
12 Adinandra Belukar (2011)
13 Moth #5 ; #6 ; #7 ; #8 (2015)
14 Moth #9 ; #10 ; #11 Triptych (2015)
15 Mnemonic 2,5,3,1,3,24,9,4,1; Mnemonic 8,2,12,24,24; Mnemonic 11,10,1,21,7,1,3 (2015)
16 Mnemonic Tipped 2,4 (2015)
17 Swivel #8 ; #9 ; #10 (2015)