Luke Heng: AL/linum



10 October 2019 - 08 November 2019
A+ Works of Art

A+ WORKS OF ART is pleased to present AL/linum, a solo exhibition by emerging artist Luke Heng. Making his debut in Malaysia, the exhibition brings together the union of 2 series of works that deal with the perception and manipulation of spaces within a painting. Although, again, forms as markers that demarcate spaces in general, is Heng’s subject, it is specifically a change of illusiveness, or cycles of illusions, that he’s creating. The exhibition exudes the notion of being monumental and oblique, sleek and detail-oriented, and it maintains its distance from any standard aesthetic response or conventional display. 


As the artist has expressed, “Having conceived the larger oil paintings that deal with the spatiotemporal, which was a continuous development of the Non-Place series, the small-scale digital prints came as a form of counteraction to what the larger oil paintings are doing.” Hence, the exhibition brings to the fore the experiential, as well as meditative, qualities in Heng’s rendition.


In recent years, Luke Heng’s practices have been developing in two distinct trajectories with the first being his painterly works that engage on a philosophical level and preoccupation with the perception of painting and its results, and the second being the more conceptual thread that emphasizes materiality and the process of materialization, as evidenced in his wax and steel creations.

He is guided by his interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine, stemming from the fact that he comes from a family of Chinese physicians. Heng also picks up ideas and concepts from the I-Ching (Book of Changes) whereby yin and yang philosophies govern his thoughts and compositional effects during his process, guiding his manipulation of choices in his works to maintain a certain sense of visual harmony. These influences reflect the artist’s views on liminality and boundary, witnessed in the abstract variations in his artworks: a misty narrow strip or two in an otherwise plain-looking canvas, or rectangular steel bars bound within translucent wax slabs.


AL/linum presents an immersive environment built on shifting intellectual and emotional states to grant access to imagery and information beyond the reach of abstraction, within Heng’s fusion of paintings and digital renderings; becoming a contemplative refuge for chanced neutrality and mediated encounters.


Luke Heng: AL/linum

Extra-Ordinary Renditions 


By Josef Ng


Throughout his brief yet extensive artistic career to date, there has been a tacit insistence that Luke Heng’s materials and medium—which includes paintings, sculptural objects, and installations—speak of far more than their content suggests. Born in Singapore, Heng is known for his alluring visual examinations of painting as a subject and medium, and the new works in this exhibition mark the evolution of Heng’s practice as he ventures beyond the realms of painterly manifestations. 



AL/linum brings together the union of 2 series of works that deal with the perception and manipulation of spaces within a painting. Although, again, forms as markers that demarcate spaces in general, is Heng’s subject, it is specifically a change in illusiveness, or cycles of illusions, that he is creating. The exhibition exudes the notion of being monumental and oblique, sleek and detail-oriented, and it maintains its distance from any standard aesthetic response or conventional display. 


As the artist has expressed: 



“Having conceived the larger oil paintings that deals with the spatiotemporal, which was a continuous development of the Non-Place series, the small-scale digital prints came as a form of counteraction to what the larger oil paintings are doing.” 


Hence, the exhibition brings to the fore the experiential, as well as meditative, qualities in Heng’s works. 


In recent years, Heng’s practices have developed in two distinct trajectories, with the first being his painterly works that engage on a philosophical level and preoccupation with the perception of painting and its results; and the second being the more conceptual thread that emphasizes materiality and the process of materialization, as evidenced in his wax and steel creations. 


Heng’s practice is guided by his interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine, stemming from the fact that he comes from a family of Chinese physicians. Heng also picks up ideas and concepts from the I-Ching (Book of Changes) whereby yin and yang philosophies govern his thoughts and compositional e ects during his process, guiding his manipulation of choices in his 1 works to maintain a certain sense of visual harmony. These influences reflect the artist’s views on liminality and boundary, witnessed in the abstract variations in his artworks: a misty narrow strip or two in an otherwise plain-looking canvas, or rectangular steel bars bound within translucent wax slabs. 



Non-Place 


In the ongoing Non-Place series of oil on linen paintings produced since 2017, Heng investigates themes of perception and optics by shifting bands of lines within the visual frame. Depth and perspective are introduced to build what the artist refers to as a “resting space” for the mind. The immersion of the gestural in the vivid blues and purples and diaphanous whites activates the tonal textures of the paintings, which under close inspection reveal the artist’s laborious pouring and drying technique. Layers of distinctive brush-like strokes — which are actually lines created via reduction — work in tandem with varying shades of colour to create a rhythmic pulse suggestive of expansiveness in an otherwise sparse background when they are, in fact, lying beneath the uppermost layer of paint. 


While hovering on the edge of abstraction, the literal construction of the non-place has directed this body of work, which is in creating a visual sanctuary that transforms into a visceral one — particularly a sanctuary that comes with a seemingly minimalistic connotation, with a quest for some sort of liminal insight, or endeavour. 


In a new departure made in the afterglow of the previously simpler and meditative compositions, Heng ekes out drama in his new paintings. The brushworks are more gestural and applied to each canvas to form quarters of what resemble vast silhouettes of dark seepage. They are the residues of a process that limits itself to a perfectly judged surface. Whether as single piece or in diptych and more, the works demonstrate a further attempt to reconcile the artist’s increasing ambivalence regarding abstraction’s spatial e icacy with his abiding interest in abstract forms’ ability to captivate the eye. 


With varying formations infused with theatricality across these paintings, they manage to possess the space and make every blot, smear, and mark in its surroundings into one humming representation. The result is a gaseous, cloudy kind of abstraction. The materiality of Luke’s abstraction is all but discarded in favour of atmosphere. 



Periodic Seedings 


Heng’s investigations into the legacy of abstraction and the intricacies of process leads him into a new series, Periodic Seedings, continuing his exploration in manifesting representations of painting, through the inspiration of what constitutes being painterly. In Periodic Seedings, the artist has undertaken a completely new process to generate compositional e ect, which, instead of creating on canvases, they are digitally printed on Inkjet on Aluminum composite panel, otherwise known as Dilite. 


At a time of revolution in digital technologies, when making extraordinary images have never been technically easier, could painting be assimilated along with advanced software to create a co-existed dynamic? Process — or, rather, the evidence of process is the focus here. Through modest interventions, Heng utilizes a sequence generator which generates a random set of 64 numbers (in 8 x 8 format). The artist then converts into a set of I-Ching hexagrams for the compositional e ects of the resultant screen-prints. 


To Heng, engaging with the structures of technological software/computer programming, is to allow strategies of mediation through element of chance, though calculated, and a back-and-forth negotiation with formal dilemmas and making micro-decisions, to create varied scenarios for brightly coloured, cascading patterns and forms. Suspended between representation and abstraction, with a slight nod towards Op Art, these new ‘digital paintings’ — all relatively small-scale — exhilarate in sheer surface, obsesses at materializing the painting/painterly as illustrating a concept. 


Viewed as a whole, in a multi-colored web of symmetries, Periodic Seedings depicts a presence indicating an absence, a series of minimalistic traces reflecting the interplay of the artist’s digital palette of idiomatic recipes. Heng engages us in the inner spirit of Chinese ideology, such as Taoism, while simultaneously suggesting aspects of values (material and immaterial, rigidness and fluidity) at work within these technological-aided panes in varying dimensionalities; looming nature of astonishing surface complexity. 



AL/linum presents an immersive environment built on shifting intellectual and emotional states to grant access to imagery and information beyond the reach of abstraction, within Heng’s fusion of paintings and digital renderings; becoming a contemplative refuge for chanced neutrality and mediated encounters. 


At the heart of this exhibition, AL/linum considers uncertain intervals and outcomes, unseen labour and relationships. Space and movement here is animated, literally and transcendentally, crawling to and fro, in perpetual motion. 










Luke Heng: AL/linum

10 October 2019 - 08 November 2019
A+ Works of Art

A+ WORKS OF ART is pleased to present AL/linum, a solo exhibition by emerging artist Luke Heng. Making his debut in Malaysia, the exhibition brings together the union of 2 series of works that deal with the perception and manipulation of spaces within a painting. Although, again, forms as markers that demarcate spaces in general, is Heng’s subject, it is specifically a change of illusiveness, or cycles of illusions, that he’s creating. The exhibition exudes the notion of being monumental and oblique, sleek and detail-oriented, and it maintains its distance from any standard aesthetic response or conventional display. 


As the artist has expressed, “Having conceived the larger oil paintings that deal with the spatiotemporal, which was a continuous development of the Non-Place series, the small-scale digital prints came as a form of counteraction to what the larger oil paintings are doing.” Hence, the exhibition brings to the fore the experiential, as well as meditative, qualities in Heng’s rendition.


In recent years, Luke Heng’s practices have been developing in two distinct trajectories with the first being his painterly works that engage on a philosophical level and preoccupation with the perception of painting and its results, and the second being the more conceptual thread that emphasizes materiality and the process of materialization, as evidenced in his wax and steel creations.

He is guided by his interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine, stemming from the fact that he comes from a family of Chinese physicians. Heng also picks up ideas and concepts from the I-Ching (Book of Changes) whereby yin and yang philosophies govern his thoughts and compositional effects during his process, guiding his manipulation of choices in his works to maintain a certain sense of visual harmony. These influences reflect the artist’s views on liminality and boundary, witnessed in the abstract variations in his artworks: a misty narrow strip or two in an otherwise plain-looking canvas, or rectangular steel bars bound within translucent wax slabs.


AL/linum presents an immersive environment built on shifting intellectual and emotional states to grant access to imagery and information beyond the reach of abstraction, within Heng’s fusion of paintings and digital renderings; becoming a contemplative refuge for chanced neutrality and mediated encounters.


Luke Heng: AL/linum