Joanne Pang Solo 'Enter and Echo' at UOB Art Gallery

The Singaporean artist uses the soak-stain technique to mesmerising effect
By A&M

Since 1982, the UOB Painting of the Year (POY) Awards has discovered and nurtured artists at various stages of their careers. The longest running art competition in Singapore, it is focused on bringing people together. Lilian Chong, Executive Director, Group Strategic Communications and Customer Advocacy, says, “We believe that art transcends language, culture, geographies and time, giving people a sense of identity and perspective while building relationships and uniting communities.”

UOB’s support of artists extends beyond the competition. Currently, ‘Enter and Echo’, a solo exhibition by Joanne Pang, 2018 UOB POY (Singapore) Gold Award Winner in the Established Artist Category is on show at the UOB Art Gallery, organised and sponsored by UOB, in the bank’s bid to raise UOB POY artists’ profiles. 

All 14 works in the exhibition are for sale at a range of prices. The lyrical ‘Sound Composition #6’, an ink and graphite on silk piece, is going for SGD2800, while ‘Comments’, a richly coloured Chinese ink, acrylic, emulsion and marker on cotton work is available at SGD8000. Interested buyers are to email the artist directly. Explaining this arrangement, Chong says, “Sales queries are directed to the exhibiting artist to build stronger connections between the artist and the community.” 

Joanne Pang, ‘The Kiss’, Chinese ink, acrylic and lipstick on linen, 140 x 100 cm. Image courtesy of UOB Art Gallery and the artist.

Joanne Pang, ‘The Kiss’, Chinese ink, acrylic and lipstick on linen, 140 x 100 cm. Image courtesy of UOB Art Gallery and the artist.

The artworks in ‘Enter and Echo’ were completed after Pang returned to Singapore from Europe in 2010. The artist explores the relationships that link structure (cloth), material (paint) and memory, painting on various cloths in an exploration of its natural creases to express her thoughts and emotions. The result is a nuanced group of works that put the creative process front and centre, in the push and pull of intentional action and inaction, of decisive strokes and languid flows. While Pang primarily uses Chinese ink to execute her pieces, she also employs the wax pencil, graphite and even lipstick, such as in ‘The Kiss’, to give her works more depth and texture.

A&M interviews Pang to find out more about how ‘Enter and Echo’ came together, and how the UOB POY Award has enriched her artistic practice.  

Could you tell us more about the works in 'Enter and Echo'? How has working on this exhibition challenged you as an artist in general or expanded your artistic practice?
‘Enter and Echo’ presents a collection of paintings done between 2010 and 2017, after I returned to Singapore. I was in Europe for a few years where I did graphic design, sculpture and installation.

The title relates to my artistic process; to approach a surface and echo the ephemeral quality of nature, time and space using painting as a medium of expression. I use the soak-stain technique, tracing water puddles and mixing different medium such as acrylic, wax pencil, lipstick and emulsion, to achieve different movements and dynamism.

The artist speaking at the opening of ‘Enter and Echo’. Image courtesy of UOB Art Gallery.

The artist speaking at the opening of ‘Enter and Echo’. Image courtesy of UOB Art Gallery.

Could you talk about one work in the exhibition that hold particularly special significance to you, and why? 
‘The Kiss’ marks my first decisive attempt to echo the folds and creases that exist unintentionally on linen. With each painting, I like to try something new and this painting marks a significant leap in experimentation, as I negotiate the relationships between presence and absence, proximity and displacement. I translate my observation to line, colour and form while working intuitively with my emotions. 

Interestingly, this painting was not completed at one go. I started on this before I won the UOB POY award, and completed it after I won. On hindsight, the six-month hiatus helped me gain confidence to engage in more intimate and honest interaction with the fabric.

I intend to continue working on this approach of using creases and folds to allude to the notion of memory. In my practice, I am interested in how memory plays a part in our identity; how it works in layers, at times converging and diverging.

Joanne Pang, ‘Comments’, 2019, Chinese ink, emulsion and marker on cotton, 190 x 180cm. Image courtesy of UOB Art Gallery and the artist.

Joanne Pang, ‘Comments’, 2019, Chinese ink, emulsion and marker on cotton, 190 x 180cm. Image courtesy of UOB Art Gallery and the artist.

What has the process and experience been like from winning Gold at the UOB POY award to opening your solo exhibition at the UOB Art Gallery? How have you been supported by the UOB team?
The process has been great. The UOB POY award helped me gain some recognition; more people become aware of my practice. UOB has been very supportive in encouraging me to expand my mode of presentation and the organisers of the exhibition have been very professional, leading up to ‘Enter andEcho’. Through this showcase, I’m able to meet new people, share ideas and as a result, I am able to reflect more thoroughly on my practice. 

For more information, please visit UOB Art Gallery. ‘Enter and Echo’ is on show until 2 May 2019. 

Joanne will have a concurrent showcase, ‘Species of Text and Spots’ at SPRMRKT at Cluny Court, a visual exploration of communication that further develops her use of Chinese ink and other mediums, from 12 April to 7 July.