Untitled series by Ong Hwee Yen, a collection produced in 2015/16. For collectors, gallerists, buyers, lovers: Yen’s artworks will be made available for purchase at WGallery from May 21, 2016 onwards. Bookmark and follow us for updates.
Ong Hwee Yen, an impressionist artist born in Singapore 1970. In 2006, Yen presented her first artwork in Singapore at My Art Space’s “Colours of Life” exhibition. Ever since her first showcase, her artworks have been selected to participate in various local and international/Asia-Pacific art exhibitions and publications. Yen pursues painting as her second wanderlust. Though an impressionist, her paintings come with a combination of impressionism and expressionism.
Yen has shown her creativity and flair to blend different shades of primary colors on her canvas paintings. She then further introduced objects in each of the paintings that often illustrate a hint of nostalgia and the view of a child’s mind. Yen’s artistic talent to paint details of the environment, landmarks and cultural elements, is one of the predominant reasons on why her paintings are captivating to many art collectors and art lovers.
Previously participated exhibition and showcase: 6 PerspectEVEs, The Art Loft @ Volvo (2009); Alfresco Art Fair, Clifford Square (2009); Breakthrough 2010, Fill Your Walls Gallery (2010); Colours with Passion, Tembusu Art Gallery (2010); International Contemporary Artists Vol III (2011) by I.C.A. Publishing; Singapore Art Gallery Guide Nov 2011 Issue (2011); Spain Camino Series, Bilbao Restaurant (2012); Bridging Cultures, Rosella Gallery (2012); Exchange, MyArtSpace (2014); Mosaic, Volvo Art Loft (2015); Art Apart Fair 7th ed, Parkroyal Hotel (2016); Beauty of Nature, MyArtSpace (2016).
A three-minute interview with Yen
i) You have described painting as your second wanderlust. What’s the first wanderlust?
I was an avid backpacker in my younger days and still get bitten often by the travel bug. I love the excitement of wandering to a new place, discovering wondrous sights and experiencing strange encounters, with adrenalin highs when I stumble on some of the most unexpected beauty of this world, such as hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on a whim and almost missing my three modes of transport to return home. Or meet the occasional low when I was robbed off my camera one christmas day in Madrid, Spain. It’s the same with painting. I sketch, explore and experiment, and see whither the colors and strokes take me, much like footsteps in the sand that come out different in every new place, new season, new texture, new mood; the possibilities are endlessly fascinating.
ii) Tell us about your favorite medium, and why it is most often your preferred choice.
My favorite medium is oil on canvas, because it is the most spontaneous and it is unexpectedly being slow drying, and it also offers interesting challenges to make quick artistic decisions within a session. I would often use oil for my forays into new territory. I alternate this with acrylic when a more measured pace is needed, like my recent Untitled series that has a fair bit of detail work.
iii) If you were given an hour to spend time with your favorite artist (alive or dead), who would it be? And where would you go?
Cezanne, the father of modern art. There was a time when I spent endless hours in libraries learning the fascinating history of western art, the lives and works of the artists that I admire and would love to embrace their footsteps of their artistic talents.
Reading about Cezanne taught me the most in my painting journey, from perspectives to composition to the thinking behind every dab of colour and stroke. I would love to go on one of his countryside sojourns with fellow impressionist painter Pissarro in France, where they painted the same landscapes side by side with differing interpretation, and I have had the privilege of witnessing many of these original paintings in a rare traveling exhibition in Paris many moons ago.
iv) Your recent artworks series ‘Untitled’ contain different combinations of objects and animals. Was there an instinct for the choice of these combinations in each painting? e.g. As shown in artwork ‘Untitled 9’, a combination of musical notes and dolphins.
The Untitled series is a meandering one that started more than a year ago. A suggestion came from a friend – instead of my usual landscapes from my travels, I should try to paint from the heart. It was also the time when I became a godmother to a little girl who was then recently born. The central theme did not require much hesitation as the event of a lifetime is right there. There it was, to look at the world through the eyes of a child. In each of my compositions, I had then introduced a companion for the child.
As I went along, each piece was a story born of a theme. My memories, imagination, travels and my every-day life were depicted on the canvas. For instance, my composition for Untitled 4 was inspired by a little ponytail girl running helter-skelter in the sunlight on a path across the field. It did happened by chance, just when I was looking out of my window panel from a rather great height.
Untitled 9 is rather personal as I was once aspired to be a music composer. In much of a good way that I would make trips to the sea coast with the melody and harmony in my mind. While I was creating Untitled 9, it was a mirror image; a retrospective work- really; the image of an ocean overture was born with my little conductor and she’s not alone. Accompanied by winds of musical notes and an orchestra of waves, dolphins and whale. The series is Untitled because each work seems to invoke different feelings and interpretation with different people which I reckon what imagination is about and that I would like to leave unfettered.