State of the Art: The Burning Gaze

The intensely penetrating stare of Vincent van Gogh painted in a greenish infrared hue blowing out smoke sends chills down the spine. A furious Andy Warhol stares you down and you wonder if he is going to hurl invectives while you wander through the three halls displaying the portraits.
On display here are over 80 portrait paintings of both famous personalities, the artist himself and various unknowns (like an Indian lady). The works convey a gamut of emotions mainly through the choice of colors. But it’s not all ghastly and discomforting as the beatific faces of a youthful Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana are just two of the warmer pieces showcased here.
When one first looks at Hyung Koo Kang’s works, they seem similar in scope and technique to the influential American artist Chuck Close. But on closer inspection, they are much more than photorealist representations, in fact they are his hyper-realist interpretations of the world. This is embodied in his bright crimson self-portraits where he resembles Lord of The Rings’ Gandalf and is shorn of his Korean identity.
These incredible works will burn themselves into your memory for a long,
long time.
The Burning Gaze runs through Dec 25 at Singapore Art Museum.