Special Display by Ben Loong
in conjunction with Homecoming: Chen Wen Hsi Exhibition @ Kingsmead
12 Apr – 3 May 2019
Held in conjunction with the landmark exhibition, Homecoming: Chen Wen Hsi Exhibition @ Kingsmead, the special display by artist Ben Loong included five conceptual pieces crafted in response to the architecture and history of 5 Kingsmead Road, the former abode of pioneer master, Chen Wen Hsi. This body of site-specific work references Wen Hsi's mastery of balance, flow and form, and is subtly influenced by the motifs that take centrestage in his paintings. Tapping into the evolving physical environment and flow of energy of the space, Ben aims to reflect the simplicity and clarity of nature also embodied in Wen Hsi’s legacy.
Ben’s work draws inspiration from landforms and natural phenomena in an attempt to capture the fleeting moments in nature; marks on the surface are deliberate reiterations of textures observed in the physical environment. Additionally, the compositions are stripped of colour relations and instead uses textured surfaces to create light and shade to guide the eye.
On pillar adjacent to mural: Fissure, 2019, Resinated drywall plaster and gold leaf on wood, 80 x 60 cm
Ben Loong (b. 1988, Singapore) explores themes central to the human condition, and actively documents it through the medium of painting and sculpture. His work draws inspiration from landforms and natural phenomena in an attempt to capture the ephemeral nature of existence; marks on the surface are deliberate iterations of textures observed in the physical environment over time. Additionally, his compositions are stripped of colour relations and instead uses textured surfaces to create light and shade to guide the eye.
Working primarily with gypsum plaster with the occasional inclusion of gold leaf, his work serves to engage with the industrial, inviting the viewer to question the value of our physical world. The use of plaster is also entwined in the artist's personal narrative, being his first experience with material manipulation after being taught by his father at age 6 to patch a hole in a wall at home. Ben has previously shown at Chan + Hori Contemporary, Singapore (2017), Pearl Lam Galleries, Singapore (2017), Kult Gallery, Singapore (2015), Hart Lane Studios, London (2014) and Mori + Stein, London (2013). He was recently awarded a Highly Commended prize in the Established Artist Category for his installation work, The River, in the 2018 UOB Painting of the Year Competition.
Left: Tidal I, 2019, Resinated drywall plaster and gold leaf on wood, 90 x 150 cm
Right: Tidal II, 2019, Resinated drywall plaster and gold leaf on wood, 90 x 150 cm
Visually, the long landscape format of Tidal I and Tidal II mimics the wall. The style of the painting is angular, less organic, and more abstract cubist in form like the mural, while keeping the composition of a tide consuming the canvas. The frames are extra thick so the painting exudes a substantial depth, which complements the heaviness of the concrete facade.