Lot 66

b. Singapore, 1990


Signed, dated and inscribed on reverse
Oil and alkyd on aluminium
75cm x 60cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur.

ESTIMATE  RM 4,000 - 6,000


Featuring at HBArt auction for the first time, Ruben Pang is a visionary contemporary abstract artist from across the causeway whose works are described as “ghostly and organic”. Fire in the Hive depicts an ethereal and atmospheric painting that is complex in its execution consisting of layers of oil paint and alkyd intuitively applied forming an intense imagery of combustion spiraling into flames. The warmth of brown, orange and yellow is balanced by a cool dash of green on the upper section of the composition.

According to his artist statement:

“Chance is an important part of my process, which alternates between layering and sanding until a spontaneous motif is found. I need time to break-in to the paintings. It helps when there are no longer any clean surfaces. If I commit to a composition prematurely, the final composition lacks vitality.

The ghost marks left behind after layers of application and removal reveal the insides of a painting. I use these opened wounds as part of the composition, they create compound marks, micro compositions. These scenarios feel like divination as they tap on the energy of memory and the subconscious to open up composition options.

In my explorations, the figures are crudely—if at all—planned. It may be an iconic character, a photograph I took of a friend or a newspaper cut-out which suddenly reminds me of a certain framework that might work as a motif. Composition is slippery. Sometimes I have an idea, but I am always prepared to let it go if something more interesting comes along. To me, any resonance beneath the surface of a painting that is developed over a series of choices is naturally autobiographical. In this sense, I believe that if the painter finds the process exciting and decides to hide some messages in the dirt, the viewer will experience some of that in their own way. It is a two-way theater, where both the artist and viewer are projecting onto one another, finding a point of sync—a melody in white noise.​​​​​​​​​​”

Ruben Pang is a full time practicing artist and a graduate of the Lasalle College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Art (2010). Pang explores an intuitive method of painting that is “projections of his psyche, reflecting on notions of prospect, arrival, and transformation. With no preconceived notion of how the painting should look like at its inception, Pang’s process of creation evolves with each mark added or subtracted from the painting surface.” His most recent solo exhibition titled Ataraxy was held at Chan Hampe Galleries in Singapore early this year. He has also exhibited internationally with a solo show titled Aetheric Portraiture with Primae Noctis Art Gallery in Lugano, Switzerland (2010) and a group exhibition, Deep SEA with Primo Marella Gallery in Milan, Italy (2012). He has exhibited and performed in the Singapore Art Museum, Lasalle College of the Art's Praxis and Project Space, The Substation and Chan Hampe Galleries. He received the Winston Oh Travelogue Award (2010), the Georgette Chen Arts Scholarship (2009 - 2010), the Lasalle Award for Academic Excellence and was a finalist in the Sovereign Asian Art Prize in 2010 and 2011.