Blissful Utopia: Minimalist Abstraction by Izzuddin Basiron

Artas Galeri presents Izzuddin Basiron’s inaugural solo exhibition titled Kota Kromatik: Izzuddin Basiron featuring 12 abstract minimalist paintings. Izzuddin’s aesthetic appeals consist of varying shapes and forms arranged within landscape compositions that illustrate sleek and modular representations of the reality of a chaotic urban panorama.

The cotton-candy pastel hues complemented by bold colours that form delightful depictions of deconstructed urban landscape set the tone for Izzuddin’s inspiration for a hard-edge style visual expression.

Colour plays an essential element in Izzuddin’s abstractions to create depth and three-dimensional perspectives on the flat surface. Shapes upon shapes are built in layers to depict fragments of a landmark and/or a building.

Metrik Topologi, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 152cm x 244cm

Seeing colours

Since graduating with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from the MARA University of Technology (UiTM) in 2018, Izzuddin, who was born in 1994, has developed a style of painting abstraction on canvas inspired by his appreciation for minimalism, architecture, and photography.

Coupled with his acute sensitivity towards colours, Izzuddin conceptualises the ideal cityscape through building blocks of shifting dimensions; straight, twisted, and warped lines as an ode to his life as a city dweller.

Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Izzuddin’s personal experience revolves around the metropolitan area. “I enjoy walking in the city and photographing and video recording the buildings and skyscrapers,” said Izzuddin.

Izzuddin paints a different picture in comparison with what he sees and captures on camera. In the process of interpreting his art, he manipulates the subject and breaks it down to different parts while emphasising on the application of colour that transports the audience to a blissful utopia.

For Kota Kromatik, Izzuddin expresses certainty through landscapes that do not represent a particular person, place, or thing. Though devoid of human figures and nature in the realist manner, Izzuddin’s abstract paintings respond to the viewer’s emotions through the psychology of colour.

Building blocks

A stark contrast to the bleak hues of Brutalist architecture – Izzuddin’s favourite architectural style – Kota Kromatik celebrates the skyline of his city through memory and visualisation.

“I am fascinated with architecture particularly Brutalism. In fact, architecture is a subject that I considered studying in college, but I did not pursue it. Perhaps that contributes to the geometric configurations that are prevalent in my paintings,” explained Izzuddin.

In Izzuddin’s past series comprising artworks that were exhibited in various local group shows since 2014, the theme “places” has been consistent. He pays tribute to specific landmarks such as the Malaysian Houses of Parliament; the Dayabumi Complex; and the National Mosque of Malaysia, to name a few in his geometric abstract style.

But his departure from depicting actual buildings and iconic landmarks to manipulating reality and creating non-objective art is a form of self-expression that Izzuddin conjures for his first solo exhibition – a process that began three years ago.

“I have been working on the sketches for Kota Kromatik since 2019. I am interested in structural make-up and the idea of controlled expression. How do I create three-dimensional perspectives in a two-dimensional painting? And to bring together the notion of rigidness and flexibility through the emotions of colours,” contemplated Izzuddin.

Izzuddin describes the conceptual process as explorative. Like most creative minds of this generation, the act of sketching on paper has been substituted with the accessibility of drawing with an iPad. He uses a digital art software called Procreate to sketch his ideas and creates preliminary designs with the selection of graphic colours before transferring the digital illustrations onto canvas.

Referencing masters

On the surface, Izzuddin’s paintings exude a sense of crispness in its graphical essence that come in the form of hard-edge painting. Picking up the baton from generations of Malaysian hard-edge masters such as Dr. Choong Kam Kow and Dato’ Tajuddin Ismail, Izzuddin’s approach towards minimalist painting combines the characteristics of American contemporary artists Al Held (1928 – 2005); Frank Stella; and Sarah Morris with the whimsical colour palette of David Hockney.

As a young artist, Izzuddin forges his path to artistic primacy with grit and grace. Having recently been recognised as one of the best 13 artists in the Malaysia Emerging Artist Award (MEAA) 2022, Izzuddin, who belongs in the Ara Damansara artist community, strives for recognition through pure determination and hard work.

In 2016, while still an undergraduate student, Izzuddin expanded his technical knowledge in artmaking through a three-month internship with contemporary artist Najib Bamadhaj, a fellow UiTM alumnus.

Paving the way to success

Committed to the life-long journey of learning and making art, Izzuddin is set to embark on his first international residency programme in Indonesia in 2023, which is anticipated to be a steppingstone for Izzuddin’s artistic progress.

Kota Kromatik marks Izzuddin’s first solo exhibition as one of Malaysia’s promising young artists whose remarkable use of colours is being celebrated. The hope is that he will thrive in the harmonies of colour in an infinite space encompassing architectural qualities and beyond, in the years ahead. 

Sarah Abu Bakar

22 December 2022


Link to catalogue PDF here.


Irama, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 183cm x 122cm