Art by Lady Lazarus
Born in Singapore and based in London, Daphne Ang @ Lady Lazarus is a self-taught artist and art historian. Daphne’s art uses the language of abstract forms and colour to express and give meaning to the human psyche and its intangible elements of mood and emotion. The central theme in her art focuses on using the act of painting to perform and convey the full spectrum of love, life and human emotion.
Daphne’s artistic practice is a culmination of a lifelong devotion to the study and scholarship of visual art. Prior to becoming an artist, Daphne has extensive experience of the commercial and academic art world through her contributions to the study and scholarship of Southeast Asian art, both from historical and contemporary perspectives.
Daphne first worked as a curator and art writer in Singapore before moving to London In 2010. She completed a PhD in the History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS, University of London, where she also taught and lectured undergraduate and postgraduate courses for many years. As an independent researcher, Daphne has worked with museums and universities for the development of exhibitions and publications. She has also undertaken a range of public speaking commitments including public talks in museums in Singapore and has guest lectured at various institutions including Sotheby’s Institute, SOAS, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Daphne began her artistic activity with studies into sacred geometry and the human anatomy. After a period of figurative drawing, Daphne turned to painting the abstract. Picking up the paintbrush has enabled her to work towards the creation of the ‘perfect vision'. through abstract painting. She works with acrylics, inks, oil pastels and powdered pigments, experimenting with a range of mediums.
Inspired by Jungian analytical psychology and concepts of the individual and collective unconscious, her paintings act as a conduit for bringing the contents of the unconscious mind into consciousness and as they provide a medium which allows for the transmission, articulation and interpretation of the images that arise from the dialogue between consciousness and the unconscious.
I believe that art must transcend life itself, it must speak of something beyond the natural world. Art must be something transcendental, extraterrestrial – art is the stuff of the divine and the sublime.
My work is heavily inspired by the writings of Carl Jung and his work into understanding the human psyche and the deep unconscious. Because of this, I came to the realisation that the sublime and the divine exist within us, both individually and collectively.
My paintings depict and articulate the ‘abstract unconscious’ through the use of active imagination, a method of meditation used in analytical psychology which refers to the process and method of introspection which opens up the psyche and its inner world of images, allowing the intangible unconscious contents to be expressed in tangible forms and creative works.
The act of painting always mirrors something inside me, and my paintings always echo and chimes with the same melody as within me. For this reason, I see abstract painting as providing the best possible expression for something unknown, the stuff of the sublime and divine. Painting the abstract opens up the possibilities of interpretation and allowing others to see different things without limiting the imagination.
Distilled through the process of abstraction whereby line and colour textural relationships become the sole means of expression, it is in the abstraction of forms and purity of colour that pure emotion and meaning finds form.
Painting to me is alchemical, and I use it as a ritual - as an edifying and illuminative exploration of how the psyche influences material.
When I start on a new painting, I try to keep the first applications of paint spontaneous and unpredictable to set the scenery into motion. I try not to limit my set up or narrow it down to a plan too much as I want to give the material room to do its own thing.
I draw from a variety of traditional and non-traditional methods and materials. For example, I might use traditional oil painting techniques such as creating an underpainting to create the background followed by splattering, pouring, slapping, spraying paint on and then using a range of acrylic mediums and chemicals such as isopropyl alcohol, to unite or dissolve certain areas. I might begin with expressive and almost violent strokes of paint using Chinese ink painting tools and techniques to form the main composition of an abstract painting, then build up with translucent colour glazes. My favourite tools are the spray bottle, mouth atomizer, needle applicator bottles, syringes, window squeegee, and other household cleaning items and implements acquired from hardware stores.
I make decisions on the go, drawing from a knowledge of how colours and different types of paint interact with each other, as well as the tools and mediums which can alter this interaction. While technique and knowledge guides the decisions and calculations I make during my painting process, the main work is done by chemistry and the transformation, creation, or combination of the materials themselves.