Dust and the Silence in the Sun
Wei-Ling Contemporary is pleased to present ‘Dust and the Silence in the Sun’, Cheong Kiet Cheng’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. In her most recent series, she touches on the question of how the spirits in our world relate to the rest of the universe. Cheong also explores the idea of the future by taking inspiration from space travel to Mars, while continuing her ongoing interest in showcasing a spiritual realm that is based on the nature of our own world.
However, there is no truer source of inspiration for Cheong other than herself. According to the artist, her evolution is largely credited to the achievement of a deeper self-understanding. Using her own technique of meditative drawing, the details now formed on the canvas initially become clear to her as she reaches a peaceful state of mind. Spiritualism is important to her and her work since she intends to spread a positive energy through the details in each piece. In fact, the name of the exhibition refers to the tranquillity in watching the slow and aimless movements of floating dust.
In contrast to Cheong’s previous series of work, this new series is a study of black ink. Creating monochromatic visuals by exclusively using one type of media is suggestive of purity, as well as adds a sense of mystery in exploring our connection with what lies beyond this planet. In addition, concentrating on the nature of black ink against white canvas helped the artist in her meditative technique by letting the natural behaviour of the material act as a guide. She compares the motions in drawing to the repetitive act of knitting, serving as an exercise in mindfulness.
One of the ways in which Cheong illustrates a convincing surreal world is through distortions in composition, particularly in conveying depth; she often depicts figures of varying sizes on a two-dimensional plane with no accurate grasp of space. Each drawing in ‘Dust and The Silence in The Sun’ is presented on a round canvas. Thus, figures can sometimes be seen contorting according to the atypical frame. A round frame in this case is used to emphasise the concentrated area, that is, the centre of each image. As one might participate in the act of tuan yuan (to gather) at a family reunion, the drawings are loud celebrations of life as they fill up the frame, despite the absence of colour. Cheong demonstrates, yet again, the power of composition – and this time, has used it to encourage her audience to investigate each visual in detail. Her experimentation with ink and alternative compositions demonstrate how Cheong tests her range in order to continually evolve as an artist.
On the contrary, the artist says there is no set formula in how she determines the composition, colour, symbolism, or detail of her artworks. For her, the process of creating is one that begins with sketching, before using a picture reference to draw. Her imagination and creativity would flow as she meditates throughout the process of drawing. As she falls into this lull, her thoughts become clearer. In regards to the question of our relationship with the universe, she finds that the answer is more philosophical than it is psychological; It is rooted in spiritualism and cannot be explained by human behaviour, nor social systems, etc. With no interest in conforming to the standards of beauty in art, Cheong hopes to showcase a body of work with a positive energy and peaceful spirit, in accordance with her interest in the metaphysical over reality.
Cheong Kiet Cheng is the 2018 UOB Painting of the Year (Malaysia) winner and the recipient of the 2018 UOB-Fukuoka Asian Art Museum Artists Residency Programme. ‘Dust and the Silence in the Sun’ exhibition is supported by United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (UOB Malaysia).
About United Overseas Bank and Art
United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) is a leading bank in Asia with a global network of more than 500 branches and offices in 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. UOB Malaysia was incorporated in 1993 but has had a presence in Malaysia since 1951.
The UOB Painting of the Year Competition underscores UOB’s commitment to support the development of art in Malaysia and across the region. Launched in Malaysia in 2011, POY is one of the most prestigious art competitions in Southeast Asia. It is held annually in four countries across the region – Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
‘Dust and the Silence in the Sun’ is featured at Wei-Ling Contemporary from 21st August – 22nd September 2019.
Wei-Ling Contemporary is located at RT01, Sixth Floor, The Gardens Mall, 59200, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Admission hours are Tuesday-Sunday 11am-7pm.
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