Passages, featuring UOB Painting of the Year winners Alvin Ong and Esmond Loh

Esmond Loh
Local emerging artists Alvin Ong and Esmond Loh explore the transition of time and space with Passages painting exhibition at UOB Art Gallery
Featuring Alvin Ong and Esmond Loh
Venue: UOB Art Gallery, 80 Raffles Place, UOB Plaza 1
Exhibition Dates: 19 August – 28 September 2015
Chan Hampe Galleries, in collaboration with United Overseas Bank (UOB), is delighted to present Passages, a painting exhibition by UOB Painting of the Year winners Alvin Ong and Esmond Loh. Passages highlights time and space by depicting acts of movement as they pass from one place or condition to another.
Both artists drew from their personal experiences of living in Singapore to paint the artworks. Drawing on archival photos and video stills, Alvin Ong’s works are a fluid reconstruction of Singapore’s past and present. The artist says, “This is my engagement with the tradition of history painting. I interrogate what more can be added to it through the eyes of the contemporary.” Historical and contemporary figures are united in a single environment as a way of highlighting the nature of change and collective memory.
The fast-paced life in Singapore is reflected in Esmond Loh’s paintings as he furthers his exploration into personal themes of existentialism. In each portrait, individuals close to the artist are captured in a void and stripped of sentimentality. Occupying the border between presence and absence, the significance of life within each being is carefully articulated and examined.
Passages will be held at the UOB Art Gallery from 19 August to 28 September 2015. UOB established the gallery to showcase paintings from the Bank’s art collection and exhibitions by UOB Painting of the Year artists. It is a place where members of the public can gather within the busy Central Business District to appreciate works of art. The gallery is located at UOB’s regional headquarters at UOB Plaza 1 and is open free to the public from 9.00am to 6.30pm Mondays to Fridays and from 9.00am to 2.00pm on Saturdays.
Alvin Ong is currently reading Fine Art in the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. In 2005, he was 16 years old when he became the youngest winner in the history of the prestigious UOB Painting of the Year competition. A year later, he held his first solo exhibition at the Jendela, Esplanade, which was attended by His Excellency Mr S.R. Nathan, then-President of Singapore. He has since exhibited in group shows at the Singapore Art Museum (2007, 2012 and 2013), Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (2007), and Great Peranakans: 50 Remarkable Lives (2015) at the Peranakan Museum.
Esmond Loh had his first solo show, Generations at Chan Hampe Galleries in 2014. He was the winner of the 2012 UOB Painting of the Year Competition and his works were also showcased at two exhibitions for UOB Painting of the Year winners.
Other group shows include Creation – An Exhibition by Saint Joseph’s Institution Old Boys 2013, Spectrum Art Elective Programme Exhibition 2013, and the Singapore Youth Festival Arts and Craft Exhibition 2012.
The UOB Painting of the Year competition is driven by UOB’s passion to encourage talented artists in their creative pursuits. Started in Singapore in 1982, the competition is the longest-running art contest in Singapore and one of the most prominent in the region.  Over the years, the UOB Painting of the Year competition has helped many emerging artists take their first steps in an art career and encouraged established artists to push their creative boundaries.

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