Tangent [tan-juh nt] noun
1. a straight line or plane that touches a curve or curved surface at a point, but if extended does not cross it at that point.
2. a completely different line of thought or action.
TWO CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS, SAM HOLT AND BEN ALI ONG, PRESENTING TWO EXPERIMENTAL NEW BODIES OF WORK…
Constructed from long forgotten and abandoned trophies Sam Holt’s large-scale sculptural installation and accompanying suite of photographs Future Past offers up a playful exploration of Western society’s inherent obsession with creating and obtaining a ‘perfect’ life. Or at the very least cultivating the image of one… (Instagram anyone?)
Pieced together from the discarded remnants of our collective childhood, Holt has abstracted and mutated each trophy, so that they are at once unrecognizable and yet also strangely familiar. Acting as a mirror which reflects back at us our own individual histories and stories, Future Past takes these abandoned tacky plastic forms, which were once cherished as symbols of our accomplishments, minor successes and participations – and creates from them a time capsule which harks back to our youth and a mindset of hopeful anticipation – a mindset often abandoned in adulthood as the pressures and realities of life come rushing in.
Reminding us of the youthful dreams and imagined futures we once harboured, Future Past
gently and subversively draws our attention to the values and ideals that have come to rule contemporary society and our obsession with security, safety, normality and the ‘status quo’.
Created via a process akin to ‘drawing with light’ Ben Ali Ong’s latest abstract photo-media works came about by accident…. “I was marking blank negatives to use as overlays for my standard photographic prints, when one day I was looking at one on the light box and though that they were quite beautiful on their own – with their expressiveness and their imperfections. So from there I started marking larger negatives in this style, scratching and manipulating the negative with whatever tools came to hand and then printing them as large scale abstract prints.”
Strongly influenced by art historical precedents such as Abstract Expressionism and the calligraphic mark making and immediacy of Chinese ink painting, Ben Ali Ong’s work also draws on poetry and the written word to create works which are at once energised and impassioned, raw and emotive, unerringly simple and yet characterized by grandeur.
“In the works I love, I feel that there is a unity in the chaos. By that I mean, whilst Abstract Expressionist pieces (usually paintings), at first look chaotic and/or messy, with those that really shine, I feel there is an elegance to the mess, a composition to the chaos. Every mark is there for a reason, to form a grander unity. This is what I was trying to achieve with these pieces…that feeling of ‘balance’.”