Looking For Now, 2019
Oil on canvas
76 x 61 cm
20% will be donated to the NHS
Alvin Ong (b. 1988, Singapore) synthesizes histories, mythologies and folk-forms into surreal improvisations and non-linear narratives. The contemporary artist works with historical and cinematic material, fluidly recombining these pictorial sources in his painting practice as explorations of memory, loss and nostalgia. As the artist claims, he finds himself drawn to the spirit of human encounter, when one being encounters another human presence. Ong’s latest paintings are exuberant and erotic depictions of figures suspended between moments of extreme pleasure and pain. The body is unapologetically exposed in its cravings. Bodily appetites are rendered in grotesque flourishes, redolent with black humour.
Ong completed a BFA at the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford in 2016, and an MA at Royal College of Art in 2018 supported by the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation. At the age of 16, he became the youngest winner of the UOB Painting of the Year Award, Singapore (2005) and a year later, he had his first solo exhibition in the presence of his excellency President S. R. Nathan at Jendela, Esplanade. He was awarded a residency in 2017 with the Royal Drawing School, as well as the 2018 Chadwell Award. His works have been exhibited at the Singapore Art Museum (2007, 2012, 2013), Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore (2010), Peranakan Museum, Singapore (2015), Northampton Contemporary, UK (2017) and National Portrait Gallery, UK (2018). He currently lives and works in both Singapore and London.