My interest in the Peranakan tiles of old shophouses in Singapore have been piqued for quite a few years now. These tiles usually have floral motifs that work well with the geometrical symmetry of tile decorations.
I have always wondered at the back of my mind about using the features of these floral tiles as part of my artwork. Rather than a straightforward cataloging of the tiles, I asked myself what would it look like if the boundaries between the floral themed tiles and actual flowers are blurred?
This series “Tiled Flora” is the result of that question.
Along the way, while making the various pieces in this series, it occurred to me that the most interesting parts of the pieces is the margins at which the floral patterns of the ties meet the real flora.
The boundary where the regular repeating tiles merge with the free form of real flora is an unexpected finding which is fascinating to me. It seems that my eye is compelled to seek out the areas where the real petals meet the tiling patterns. But if the pieces were only of either tiles or natural flowers then the appeal will be reduced.
Perhaps this is representative of life in general. Pure conformity is boring while absolute freedom is chaos; Balance between extremes is harmonious and is desirable.