The latest from Singapore-based artist Keng Lye splits the difference between painting and sculpture to bring seemingly makeshift mini aquariums to life. Working with layers upon layers of acrylic paint and epoxy resin, Lye creates fish, turtles, and squids that look startlingly real. All of his marine life creatures appear to be momentarily resting in the middle of a swim.
While plenty of sidewalk paintings give the illusion of depth, Lye’s 3-D innovation is bold enough to defy belief. The creatures in “Alive Without Breath” aren’t merely floating in the “water” made by epoxy resin–they also break the surface. Although this effect is achieved with tiny physical extrusions–a pebble for the octopus, an eggshell for the turtle–it is almost literally icing on the cake Lye has assembled as delicately as a soufflé.