CHENG YEN PHENG
b. Penang, 1982
BACKSTREET FACE, 2009
Signed and dated ‘YEN PHENG 09' lower right
Mixed media collage on canvas
127cm x 122cm
Private collection, Penang
ESTIMATE RM 3,200 - 4,000
|Yen Pheng is part of a new generation of contemporary Malaysian artists whose artworks are not only aesthetically beautiful but reveal more than what meets the eye. She received a Diploma in Fine Arts at Dasein Academy of Arts in 2004 and since then has become known as an artist with formidable skills and mastery in painting. Drawing on many issues that hold relevance in modern times, her works span subject matter that includes her own personal feelings about feminism, sexual relationships as well as the environment.
She has participated in a number of group exhibitions in Malaysia, Korea and Vietnam. Significantly at the Sejong Culture Art Centre in South Korea as part of the ‘Seoul International Art Festival’ (2005), ‘Hanoi Welcome’ at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum (2009), ‘Young and New Part 3’ at House of Matahati (HOM), (2009), ‘Young Malaysian Artist: New Object(ion)’ at Galeri Petronas (2009) and ‘Absolut 18@8’ at Wei-Ling Gallery (2010). Her awards include the 2009 Malaysian Emerging Artist Awards and a residency in 2010 at House of Matahati in Kuala Lumpur which resulted in her first solo exhibition at HOM. Her works are held by Galeri Petronas and the Aliya and Farouk Khan Collection.
Backstreet Face is part of Yen Pheng’s works created from 2007 onwards which are dedicated to conveying the plight of the natural environment and the impact of human activity on its condition. During this period, dump-site scenarios, abandoned electrical appliances and computer ware are commonly depicted across her canvases. In Backstreet Face, what appears to be a wall with air conditioning exhaust fans is illustrated, though the focus of the piece is the grungy atmosphere portrayed through colours that are almost radioactive in tone. The surface of the painting is scratched and mottled; evidence of deterioration that is commonly seen in cities everywhere. An overall feeling of gloom and desolation is apparent in the disjointed imagery that makes up the artwork, with a red and white striped tape flapping forlornly, a symbol of litter and feelings of disinterest or neglect for the environment and our surroundings.