Remember the MATAHATI group? No? Don’t blame you, as they have been fairly silent since their big retrospective back in 2008. However, that silence may be replaced by a slight buzz this month, as Ahmad Shukri Mohamed becomes the first of the group (aside from the very prolific Bayu Utomo Radjikin) to reappear on the scene after years of silence, bar some minor appearances confined to group exhibitions. His solo exhibition this month at Pace Gallery is titled ‘Golden Gate’, though the title bears absolutely no relation to the namesake bridge in San Francisco. Instead, it’s a metaphor for nature, a recurring subject in the artist’s range of works.
On this topic, the artist’s works used to be more didactic. Don’t pollute this, don’t forget about our animal friends… and so on. These days, however, Ahmad Shukri has taken a step back, allowing the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions – ‘I leave it open ended,’ he says of the narrative in his latest works.
Sadly, this solo exhibition doesn’t feature the type of mixed media works that the artist is well known for, and even Ahmad Shukri admits this is a shame. But you will see a lot of paintings. In fact, as many as the gallery can physically accommodate, with the selection showcasing artist’s understated skill in this area; he combines collage work, image transfers, silkscreen printing, actual painting, and great use of materials in every single piece. Rachel Jena