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Mike Wong Joon Fong


Among the unspeakable array of dubious art that makes it's way to art galleries and museums nowadays, it's a real pleasure being able to find, and probably introduce to most visitors, the abstract art of a fresh new talent: Singaporean artist Mike Wong Joon Fong. Mike's paintings are probably best categorized as action painting, a branch of abstract expressionism. As the creative process of an action painter demands a strong physical involvement, he drips his paint onto the canvas or applies it with wild, almost random brush strokes. Here "action" refers rather to the painter's physical engagement than to the artistic result, but obviously the methodology usually shows up in the result. The purpose of this way of painting is to obtain a maximum amount of expression and for the abstract expressionist to unearth his internal, subconsious world.

The action certainly shows in Mike Wong's first work shown here, which he has called "Unveiling". In essence this painting consists of horizontal and vertical lines, created by various techniques. He seems to have scraped off the paint from the bottom third of the painting, breaking the monotony and heavy coloration, like in his "Do Not Be Afraid" painting, that is shown next.

In "Do Not Be Afraid" the strongly diluted paint causes a transparancy that gives the impression as if the painting were lit from behind, like stained glass. This is reinforced by the black patches the painting has. These two paintings already show the vitality and freshness of Mike Wong's art.
This picture of "Unveiling", (with it's maker) give a good impression of how well the browns harmonize with the pure colors. The process of painting often consists of applying layer on top of layer. If applied well, the top layer will stay pure in color, if the artist desires, while the layers beneath mix into a grey-brown blur. This brownish layer is what appears when the top layer is scraped off, as Mike has done. On his website Mike describes how he keeps the removed paint in a container - the painting sold, the money spent, but he still has a jar of old paint....

Although action painting is wild and crude by nature it can still be subtle in color and temperament, as these paintings show.
This image is a detail of Mike's "Interjection" painting. It consists of a counterpoint of black and yellow paint, each layer with it's own rhythm, the musicality of the yellow is catching. Here the paint was dripped from the container rather than applied with a brush; the yellow is almost tangible to the spectator as it sits on the black bottom layer.
A similar technique was used in "Rush". This painting suggests horizontal motion, again with a catching and tangible top layer, in red this time.
It would be wrong to overstate the case: Mike Wong is not the so-maniest new Picasso, but his paintings were made with such conviction and passion that his paintings stand out, like the sense of drama and emotional depth that "Playing" (left) has.

Mike Wong has the ability to understand and express the essence of his abstractions in a way that reveals his passion for painting, which, if anything, makes him a true abstract expressionist.





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