Chee-Keong Kung: Responsive Mark Making

Helix, 2015
Acrylic & ink on canvas, 48 x 36 in

Destilling Ruptures

Chee-Keong Kung’s work derives from a process that is based on responses to materiality and observations from the natural and built environment. Hard-lined geometry and Improvisational gestures are applied over earlier layers, modifying and obscuring the underlying images. Recurring motifs--distilled from ambient visual stimuli--surface and recede, seeming to drift between concreteness and tenuousness.

“Kung's work speaks to a continued place for painting as an emotive experience, in this case centered in a resolution between the calm and chaotic.  A metaphor for a visual world that is currently overpowered by a proliferation of images and their outlets, painting today can maintain both a vital distance and a meaningful perceptivity via its own logic.”

– Erin Devin, curator & art critic

Helix (detail)

SW Monsoon, 2015
Acrylic & ink on canvas, 48 x 36 in

SW Monsoon

Each work begins with a brush stroke or line that sets into motion the subsequent moves.  The work evolves through engagement with material qualities and mark-making.  Shapes, volumes and space emerge through the buildup of marks, and through obscuration of earlier efforts.  Drawings, brushwork, and color washes are in constant dialogue with one another.  Unintentional structures push, pull, and coalesce.  Chance, an invaluable part of the process, disrupts habitual boundaries and push trajectories into unexpected territories. 

The work accrues structure and meaning through the layering of time and full measures of attention.  Usually, a piece would sit for days before the next move can be intuited.  This process continues until the work hovers between perfection and imperfection, chance and control, density and weightlessness.  Oftentimes, the most satisfying works are those that end up in entirely unexpected places. 

Toccata, 2015
Acrylic & ink on canvas, 36 x 48 in

Toccata Detail

Staccato, 2015
Acrylic & ink on canvas, 36 x 48 in

Staccato (detail)

Kung recently won a Juror’s Award at the biennial Strictly Painting Exhibit (2015) at the McLean’s Project for the Arts and was a Semi-finalist for the DC Art Bank Collection (2015). His work was selected for the Emergence 2014: International Artist To Watch at Galerie Myrtis in Baltimore. His works are in corporate and private collections, as well as the National Museum of Singapore. Born in Singapore, Kung studied art and architecture at the University of Houston and real estate at Cornell University. He lives and works in McLean, VA. 

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