Friday, February 11, 2011

Ruben Pang: Artist & Musician

DHV: I noticed that you have a series of paintings that are known as Theatre. Are they meant to be arranged in such a manner to complement each other?

RP: I told myself I will never paint in a series, ever again right after this. I want all my works to be seen as individuals. It would be the visual arts equivalent of never releasing albums, only singles. The theater concept is about situations on a metal sheet, the phenomenon of paint being captured over time. In that sense, it is almost photographic, and some light painting/photography I've done have informed this concept. In these paintings, I hoped to invoke the sense of a presence, and a feeling of absolution. I paint ritualistically, and the act of painting is as important as the image. This made things difficult when it came to compositions, was I to fulfill psychological or aesthetic needs? It is still a problem for me. Is it personal or universal? Both I hope, knowing that they are inevitably personal, it can only hint in a subliminal way to the viewer, perhaps most clearly to someone who believes in fate and affinity. As you can see, there is difficulty in me describing exactly what they are. Well, some things are not for the artist to say. I must confess that I focus on creating them and not their narratives, I try to work on them till I cannot sacrifice the layers (by sanding them off and reworking) and I realized that eventually I could sand everything off anyway. I feel like a creator who tries to nurture the creation, tries to let them find their own destiny, and fails. I am a disappointed parent, yes this implies that what I paint must be an 'entity'. It is safe to say I paint presences that have been abandoned, failed hopes and expectations. All of them are somewhat damaged, with hints of color, a struggle to realize themselves. Perhaps the metaphor would be unanswered prayers, we're left to our own means because disappointment is inevitable if we expect the god to be something that a human can fathom. - Ruben Pang, Interview by SDAM's Dalsix Höðr Visser (2.26.2011) Link

Ruben Pang's Deviantart Page (includes his paintings on guitars)
Treatment For The Halo" by Mark Wee & Ruben Pang available for download.
"Angels" Exhibition at the Chanhampe Gallery at Tanjong Pagar

Artworks available for sale. Contact Amanda Poh (

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