Singaporean artist Ron Wong presents first local solo exhibition at Ernst & Young Asean Art Outreach program

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Singapore, 27 June 2013 - Ernst & Young opens Homecoming by Singaporean artist Ron Wong at the Ernst & Young Gallery today. This 14th exhibition of the Ernst & Young Asean Art Outreach program will run from 27 June to 16 October 2013.

Ron is known for her figurative works, which showcase her thoughts on daily experiences and encounters with people and matters. Expressed through caricature paintings, she portrays her figurative subjects with wit, humor and satire, and distorts them simply because they are what she sees in them and of them. Ron believes that the level of aesthetics can be revealed by putting opposing elements together such as beauty and ugliness, truth and falsity, and good and evil – as they can bring out the best qualities of one another.

Ron draws inspiration from her cultural experiences having stayed in three different cosmopolitan cities. She spent her early childhood in Macau where she was born, did her secondary and tertiary education in Singapore, and completed her postgraduate studies in fine arts in Shanghai. Now back in Singapore, Ron’s experience and observation of Shanghai and Singapore as someone who is both an insider and outsider, form the conceptual framework for this exhibition titled Homecoming.

About the exhibition, Homecoming

Homecoming is Ron’s third solo exhibition but first in Singapore as part of the Ernst & Young Asean Art Outreach program. Homecoming is Ron’s portrayal of Singapore and Shanghai, where both cities have been home to the artist who paints her observations with an ethnographic eye. She paints not what she sees but based on her memories living in the two cities, thus allowing what is real to her to manifest in her paintings. For example, in Pasar, Ron’s protagonist is a woman stretching to grab tomatoes. The hustle and bustle of the market where one grabs the freshest fruits and vegetables before others exemplifies the tendency of Singaporeans to rush for things for the fear of losing out. In her Subway series, Ron created a triptych or use of three panels to capture the everyday experiences of commuters – a little boy, an elderly couple and middle-aged men – in Shanghai facing the daunting prospect of cramming into overcrowded train carriages.

This exhibition also features Theatre no. 2 and Fellows, which represent significant painterly challenges to Ron. In Theatre no. 2, she created what Nicolas Bourriaud of Relational Aesthetics (English edition) calls “microtopias”. In this painting, the “microtopia” set within a theatre makes visible the breaking down of social boundaries, as the subjects in the theatre interact with one another individually either physically through touch, or collectively in their intense facial expressions of laughter. A “microtopia” emerges in a fleeting moment as everyone is united as one, regardless of race, religion or creed. In comparison, no “microtopia” moment is created in Fellows. It is composed as one would in a mug-shot at a police station. The figures appear connected yet distant from each other at the same time, each retaining his or her individuality.

Please see Appendix A for a list of the exhibited works (pdf, 707.5kb) .

About the artist, Ron Wong

(Source: Curatorial review by Seng Yu Jin, Lecturer, LASALLE College of the Arts)

Born in Macau in 1983, Ron Wong was brought up in Singapore and trained in Shanghai. She had spent her formative years in Singapore and graduated with a Diploma in Digital Media Design from Nanyang Polytechnic in 2003. She went on to further her studies in art at the Shanghai University College of Fine Arts, graduating with a Master of Fine Art. Ron can be described as an ethnographer of the everyday, an artist who employs the anthropological approach of fieldwork in her practice as a painter, an interdisciplinary artist whose practice can be located in the ethnographic turn in contemporary art. Her observations of everyday life in a given culture and society is reconceived into a site of social relations that she portrays with wit, humor and satire.

Ron’s practice as a painter can be categorized into the genres of figuration and landscape. Both genres differ greatly in approach and artistic vision. Her figurative paintings take a critical view of social and humanity, but are expressed in a rather caricatured and ironical way. She reflects on both positive and negative aspects on society with a touch of witty humor and a sensibility that is honest, yet non-judgmental. Subjects and faces were all created from memories of her daily experiences, and she distorts her figures to the point of almost caricature simply because they are what she sees in them. As for landscapes, Ron uses an insider’s perspective to portray houses, fields, mountains and sea. For Ron, she “searches for tranquillity and serenity in the process of making. What comes out on the canvas would be a mindscape that exists independently by its own. It is the truest to our nature in repose. It is a process of experience and exploration.”

Ron held her first solo exhibition at M50 Moganshu Ru, Shanghai, China in 2009 and her second solo show at the Yangzhou Art Museum, Yangzhou, China in July 2012.

Local and overseas exhibitions

  • 2013 - Kampong Goodman, Goodman Arts Centre - a fringe exhibition of the Art Stage Singapore 2013

  • 2012 - Mental Imagery, Ron Wong solo exhibition at Yangzhou Art Museum

  • 2011 - Beijing Poly Auction, Modern and Contemporary Chinese Art
    Shanghai Boguzhai Spring Auction, Chinese Calligraphy and Painting

  • 2010 - Chirography – Shanghai Sketch Painting Exhibition, Shanghai HongQiao Contemporary Art Museum

  • 2009 - Solo exhibition at Shanghai M50 M Artcenter gallery 
    First Chinese Shen Zhou Feng Yun Painting and Calligraphy Annual Exhibition
    Selected painting titled “29 in 2 seconds” was exhibited, Beijing World Art Museum 

  • 2008 - 22nd World Hakka Conference Shanxi Contemporary Calligraphy and Painting
    Selected paintings titled “Us” and “Friday” were exhibited, 2008 Shanghai College Art of Excellence Exhibition and Shanghai University College of Fine Arts
    Selected painting “Old factory” was exhibited, first MingDaAiTao Creative Competition

About Ernst & Young Asean Art Outreach program

This is the 14th exhibition of the Ernst & Young Asean Art Outreach program. The program was started in October 2007 with the dual objectives of promoting the development of art in the region and contributing back to the community, as part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility program. 20% of the sale proceeds from the exhibitions are donated to three local charities: the Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore), the NCC Research Fund and Club Rainbow (Singapore).

The past 13 exhibitions have raised over S$168,000 in total for the three local charities through the sale of works of Singaporeans Ho Sou Ping and the late Chua Ek Kay; Vietnamese Hà Mạnh Thắng, Lý Hùng Anh and Phạm Huy Thông; Myanmar Zaw Win Pe and Nay Myo Say; Malaysians Chong Siew Ying, Hamir Soib, Ahmad Shukri Mohamed, Umibaizurah Mahir and Kow Leong Kiang; Java-born New Zealander John van der Sterren and Filipino Marina Cruz.

The Ernst & Young Gallery is located in Ernst & Young’s office at One Raffles Quay, North Tower, Level 18. The exhibition is open to the public on Tuesdays (12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.) and Wednesdays (5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.), from 27 June to 16 October 2013. Viewing is by appointment only. The public is encouraged to call +65 6535 7777 to make an appointment at least three days before visiting.

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