Congratulations to Owen Leong on being shortlisted as a finalist for the 2020 Tom Bass Prize for Figurative Sculpture.
The 2020 Tom Bass for Figurative Sculpture finalists’ exhibition will be a showcase of representational, abstract, innovative and contemporary works inspired by the human form.
The Tom Bass for Figurative Sculpture is a prestigious prize that celebrates the human form and its influence on today’s sculptor. The Prize is an acknowledgement of the influence Bass had as one of Australia’s pre-eminent public sculptors.
In Tom Bass’ own words- “We do not do it because we are attached to the figurative. Nor do we do it because it is traditional though we do respect the innate value of tradition…Why is it necessary for us to go to the natural form in such an intense way? Because it is the accumulation of that knowledge of natural form as a primary source of our creative work. The alternative to that is to imitate the things that others have done, or to follow fashion.” – Tom Bass
Selected for his figurative sculpture Guardian Head (Jing), which was originally shown as part of his solo exhibition Original Nature at Artereal Gallery in 2018, Owen Leong draws on Taoist philosophies. He explores the idea and state of ‘original nature’: the tantalising concept of a person’s embryonic mind prior to cultural conditioning.
Leong manifests the quest for the primary self as cycles of regeneration and decay. The artist engages with experiences, mythologies and rituals from his Australian-Chinese heritage and the materials and processes of sculpture – casting, breaking down, assembling and recasting – to convey the complex pathway of creation and obliteration of aspects of the self.
The sculpture encapsulates the breakdown, uptake and absorption of learning and unlearning – and the continuing conundrum of nature versus nurture.
The 2020 Tom Bass finalists’ exhibition runs from 6 – 22 March, 2020 at Juniper Hall, 250 Oxford Street, Paddington.