Biography

Kanchana Gupta is an artist of Indian origin who lives and works in Singapore. She works with paint, installation and mixed media supports and has shown her paintings and mixed media works in two solo exhibitions and in many group exhibitions in Singapore and outside. She completed an MA in Fine Arts from LASALLE College of Arts, Singapore where she was recipient of ‘Dr. Winston Oh Travel Research’ award.

Kanchana’s works are often not only poetic and sensuously painterly but also sculptural and object-based in nature. Her works shift between different forms as she manipulates the materiality of oil paint and transforms it into something that is active and disruptive. The gradual transformation of the material into new forms and identities constitutes the core idea of her practice.

Her works are in institutional collection in Singapore and in private collections in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, USA and India.

Kanchana’s artistic process focuses on the identity, aesthetic, and potential for transformation of oil paint. Oil paint, her medium of choice, is inextricably tied to a canvas. It is a medium that has primarily been used to convey; an action, rather than a subject. What is oil paint, then, without its canvas? What can it become when it is subjected to various distortions, and is its identity dependent on the transformations it undergoes? Kanchana’s works probe the identity of oil paint, one that is, by nature, transformative. She alters its form through violent means, burning, tearing, pulling and peeling skins of oil paint. Her works are studies of the resulting forms. Most recently, she has used substances such as linen, jute, and tarpaulin in her investigations to see how oil paint shapes around these textures. Even as her ventures take on sculptural qualities, the subject remains two-dimensional; ever present in her stretching of oil paint’s identity is an awareness of an absent canvas.

Her works are not only examinations of oil paint’s identity, but examinations of each work’s resulting composition. Her work with denatured oil paint investigates the spatial interaction of the occurring folds, cracks, and tears. It is through precise arranging and layering of her skins that Kanchana lays bare oil paint’s nature. Each investigated behavior of oil paint—to curl, crack, fold, tear, fragment and leave residues—reveals to the viewer not just visual, but emotional complexities.