Pang , Ruben b.1990 / The Shredding Series
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Pang , Ruben b.1990 / The Shredding SeriesPang , Ruben b.1990 / The Shredding SeriesPang , Ruben b.1990 / The Shredding SeriesPang , Ruben b.1990 / The Shredding Series
about this work
"Personally, these paintings are reflections on the use of painting as a form of escapism. I used to pretend I was working in a vacuum and in denial of my current circumstance. It's a safe haven. At the same time if the process and act of painting has a purpose quite clear such as this, it means that it is creatively limited, although focused. These paintings celebrate that focus, like puncturing a single hole in the bottom of a tank of water, the stream is intense.

I've always used that energy as a stimulant, a mood stabilizer and a source of confidence to make up for a low self esteem. I think the spectrum of colors and its saturation reflects that. Transparency, the illusion of fluidity through oil paints, that's addiction, or dependency. I believed that the artist has to be excited while painting, otherwise its labor--artisan. But in hindsight, I think it is just as much a crutch as it is a curiosity, the same way (in my own humble opinion) that Flemish masters had exquisite surfaces at the expense of gesture. For me, the need for paint to appear as if it transcended its own medium meant that compositions had to be quite clear and direct. These paintings are exercises in pushing that format in different directions.

Shredding refers to the erasure of short term memory, a sort of amnesia. The game is about the tension and dynamics, using acrylics and oils in a way that "they're meant to be". For the way I work, I find that certain pigments are applied more uniformly in acrylics than oils, especially purples and reds. It's also about decisions, I'm curious about building a structure of a painting in one direction and using oils almost forcefully (in terms of layers) in another.

Today layering oils on acrylics is often used in realist paintings--deliberate and intentionally. For me its quite the opposite, its an open ended conversation. I can't quite articulate the nuances of this experience in words because only the final layer is visible and it would be superfluous to talk about something which is buried underneath. But I must insist that this depth is precisely what allows me to unify a painting in an almost monochromatic way, for instance in Shredding 1, this would be a warmth of about a 2000k light. In Shredding 2, it would be a neon lime green, and in Shredding 3, its what I consider to be a futuristic white, even more blue than the LEDs that are common today. In terms of form and composition, I express amnesia in a sense of anonymity. I am referring to the sense of constantly waking and not having the same certainty that we have in regular consciousness. For instance, in vivid dreams or severe hallucinogenic experience, the narrative is more apparent than our sense of identity or "who am I?" unless the narrative and goal of the dream is introspective. The goal of these three paintings are exactly that--introspection. And I learned that everyday, I am becoming less of an escapist".

- Ruben Pang 

Ruben Pang (b.1990, Singapore)

The Shredding Series, 2014

Oil, alkyd, acrylic and retouching varnish on aluminum composite panel
Triptych each: 90 x 115 cm.
Triptych each: 35 7/16 x 45 1/4 in.
Provenance:
ChanHampe Galleries, Singapore Current Location:
Hong Kong - S PaintingSouth Asia

publications

Finanza Online, Ruben Pang
Finanza Online (Online), June 29 2015
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