Jimmy Ong

When 10 Jan 2013 - 23 Feb 2013
Where Tyler Rollins Fine Art
529 W 20th Street, 10W
New York, NY 10011
United States
Enquiry (212)-229-9100

Image curtesy of artist.

January 10- February 23, 2013

Press Release:

Jimmy Ong is considered to be one of Singapore’s preeminent contemporary artists and has been noted for his large scale, figurative charcoal works on paper since his first solo exhibitions in the 1980s. Ong presented Sitayana, a solo exhibition of new work, at Tyler Rollins Fine Art from January 14 – February 20, 2010. The exhibition was purchased by the National Art Gallery of Singapore and is now part of the museum’s permanent collection.

In recent years, Ong became fascinated with the Ramayana, the ancient Indian epic that recounts the exploits of Rama and his dutiful wife, Sita. This epic continues to play a vibrant role throughout Southeast Asia and provides an endless source of inspiration for the region’s folk and popular cultures. A Singaporean of Chinese decent who is now residing in the United States, Ong has brought his own unique viewpoint to this classic story. Inspired by the Ramayana’s characters and its dramatic themes of love, combat, and heroic adventure, he has created new narratives that are informed by his sensitivity to the way gender roles play out in contemporary relationships.

Ong has refocused the epic on the Sita character – hence the exhibition’s title, Sitayana. He presents powerful and at times disturbing images of female figures. Their muscularity and contorted, aggressive poses place them firmly in the traditionally male realm of heroic action, offering a blunt challenge to the traditional image of the obedient, submissive female. But Ong’s approach is never so simple or straightforward. Duality has always been a central preoccupation for him, and his works explore the ways in which multiple identities and perspectives – whether sexual, ethnic, national, or even generational – can coexist within the individual.

With Sitayana, these tensions come to the fore, as each drawing reveals different permutations of masculinity and femininity, activity and passivity, tenderness and violence. His drawings do not present traditional images of conflict between these supposed binarisms, but rather they work to undermine the fixed quality of these very notions. Although often monumental in scale, his figures are never monolithic, but instead are multifaceted and complex, an uneasy mix of many divergent perspectives – in short, distinctly contemporary.

Also in 2010 he presented a solo exhibition SGD of new works at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute following his residency there. In 2011, he participated in a two-person exhibition, TransFigured, at the Private Museum in Singapore as well as another group show. Tyler Rollins Fine Art will present Ong’s second solo show at the gallery in early 2013.

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