Singapore Art Week, which is happening from now until 22 January, never disappoints and one of the cornerstone events that we thoroughly enjoyed from last year is returning for its second edition.

Singapore Contemporary starts on 19 January at the Suntec Convention Centre and closes its doors on the last day of Singapore Art Week. It will be featuring more than 90 exhibitors who will be showcasing original paintings, limited edition collectibles, sculptures and more. What we’re looking forward to is the five different sectors – Photo17 Singapore, Latin American Voices, Artists Dialogues, China Encounters, and Gallery Projects – that will feature a wide variety of art.

We chat with Kate Baker (below), one of the artists who will be featured at Singapore Contemporary in the Photo17 Singapore sector, and how she got started in the fascinating medium of glass.

Why glass?

I had already been studying at art school for two years when I became attracted to the medium of glass. It was a bit of an enigma – sculptural, yet translucent and I was very curious about it. The Australian National University glass workshop is an exceptional place with a huge international following. They only take four students a year from around the world. At the time, I remember being very worried that glass might be a limiting material to work with artistically. It was very exciting to discover that the only limitation was going to be my own ability, not the material. The beauty of glass is that it is a liquid and will essentially do anything.

Is there a specific moment life when you realised that this is what you wanted to do with your life?

I have been obsessed with all things artistic since I was a young teenager but was always told I was not artistic because my drawings were too messy in primary school! Once I got over that I was able to let my passion and interests lead me. I was quite an idealistic young person. I remember thinking ‘I don’t care if I die afterwards, I just want to go to art school first.’

Where do you get your influences from?

Contemporary filmmaking, dance choreography, and photography are all huge influences in my work. Artists such as Pedro Almodovar, Peter Greenway, Pina Bausch, Bill Henson, Sally Mann and Francesca Woodman are a few examples.

I am drawn to the work of these artists because of their focus on the body and movement as a vehicle for exploring the more intangible and emotional elements of human experience. I am fascinated by how we can be transported both visually and viscerally through their work.

Where do all your projects start?

I start by drawing, taking photos and writing about my ideas. Image making is always at the beginning of all my work. It may be that I abandon the image through the process but it is always there at least as a point of departure. I spend a lot of time working on the computer as well as testing in the studio. Glass is a complicated material, so you need to do a lot of experimentation before embarking on final works.

Do you have any consistent stories you find yourself telling through your artwork?

The work always seems to come back to themes of human fragility, impermanence and the complex yet illusive layering inherent within each of us. The psychological and emotional strata, which sits below the surface of our lives is always at the heart of the work. The human figure, as a subject matter is another constant in the work. It never ceases to fascinate me how the human body can paradoxically express the intangible and immaterial elements of our lives.

Flux Series 1

Flux is being exhibited in January within the Singapore Contemporary 2017.

Flux grew out of my fascination with certain qualities of photography and image making that was best achieved through the incorporation of digital and screen-printing processes. In past bodies of work I have used screen-printed imagery melted within layers of glass and also etched imagery onto the surface of the glass. I wanted to continue these processes but also incorporate a UV Flatbed digital printing process. In past work I have done this on glass also.

When developing Flux I became very interested in the qualities created by digital printing directly onto aluminium. It also had an amazing relationship with the glass visually, so I decided to develop this process and incorporate it into the work. I have been really delighted with the result. It adds another dimension to the work.

Singapore Contemporary, 19 – 22 January, Suntec Convention Centre Level 4

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