Exhibiting Artists: Lok Kerk Hwang
Dates: 07 Mar 2014 - 16 Mar 2014
Under the scorching sunlight of Lok Kerk Hwang's watercolour brush, details are thrown into high relief, and the minutiae of mundane surfaces is revealed. Kerk Hwang is a master of textures: peeling paint and enamel from doors and walls, the freckled rusting of machinery, the shiny glint off ceramic roof tiles and manufactured plastic... strong shadows bringing out sharp contrasts where no imperfections can be hidden. Each scene seems suspended in the full glare of the noonday sun in consummate stillness, where the heat has driven life indoors leaving the inanimate mercilessly baking.
Kerk Hwangâ€™s compositions tend to zoom in on his subjects, cropping out extraneous details to present what the artist finds most interesting in tight arrangements which thrust them forward, be it the spokes of a bicycle wheel, or the gable of a temple or warehouse. Besides simplifying complex backgrounds to make the main objects stand out, Kerk Hwang actively intervenes to change layout and colour, adds new objects to enhance the theme or creates lighting sources to give more depth. His telescoped depictions of the unsung ordinary distinguishes him from other Malaysian and Singaporean peers who persistently delight in street scenes and still lifes.
Using the full suite of watercolour techniques including wet-on-wet painting, dry brush techniques, masking and the application of gesso for textures, Kerk Hwang is able to emulate complex organic textures like wood, or mottled, variegated wall effects. His celebrated rusty textures arise in part by using a toothbrush to spray rich colour onto a wet ground. Works in the Symphony of Rust series extol the browns of oxidized iron in forlorn metal objects, while the locks, hinges and chains of his Closed series present pocket exemplars of his virtuoso technique.
Red Dream No.1 is a rare nocturnal retreat where a soft glow emanates from within several Chinese lanterns, while the weather in Sekinchan Impression No.2 and 3 is overcast making it easier to discern the subtle reflections in the water. But the sun returns in Sunbath, Age of Castle and Happy Gathering series, where buildings and objects bask in a light where the heat can almost be felt. One almost averts the eyes at the strength and brilliance of light emanating beyond the frames.
Pwee Keng Hock, 25/2/2014
LOK KERK HWANG, CSPWC, AFCA, born in 1973, is an award-winning watercolor artist as well as a Signature Member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour and Federation of Canadian Artists. He has been a member of the Singapore Watercolour Society (SWS) since 1998 and the Singapore Art Society (SAS) since 2002.