Every month, we feature artwork from Penang State Art Gallery’s permanent collection
By Eryn Cheng
Born in Kedah in 1962, Zulkifli Yusoff is an established artist with an art practice that has spanned almost 3 decades. Known for his versatility, Zulkifli has worked with drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and installation to create a diverse and engaging body of work.
Lembu Berkaki Dua is part of an early series of paintings produced 5 years after he graduated with a Master of Arts from Manchester Polytechnic, UK, in 1991. At the time, Zulkifli Yusoff drew upon Malay literature and media as the basis for his work and had been lauded as a latter-day Honoré Daumier for his stylized caricatures and social commentary.
Filled with energetic brushstrokes that seem to vibrate off the canvas, Lembu Berkaki Dua is indicative of Zulkifli’s exploration of the Abstract Expressionism style which is usually characterized by gestural brushwork and an impression of spontaneity. The complementary shades of green and orange painted on in deliberate brush strokes serve to create surface tension and a balanced abstract composition at the same time.
Motivated by themes of socio-political and historical issues within Malaysia, Zulkifli continues to use research and theory as the basis for his practice to create thought-provoking work on nation-building, power structures and identity. In 2019, his work was featured alongside three other artists at Malaysia’s first-ever pavilion at the 58th Venice Art Biennale.
Eryn Cheng is an artist who works with drawing, painting, and cut-outs on paper and wood to create surreal compositions on womanhood, life and the unknown.