Art Pioneer Studio
Chok Yue Zan, Lv Hongliang, Lv Xu
APS has been providing professional art consultancy services to various property owners for many years. In the case of the Loyale Pavilion Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, managed by Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, with in-depth discussions on the artistic concepts of several artists, APS aimed to create experiences in an environment that was comfortable, relaxing and eye-catching. The artwork is intended to provide a comfortable 'home away from home' for guests and evoke visitors' artistic imagination.
In this article, we will share the artworks of three artists in this project: Chok Yue Zan, Lv Hongliang, and Lv Xu.
Chok Yue Zan
Chok Yue Zan, born in Malaysia in 1994, is the youngest artist in this project and is also the Gold Medalist of the Year in the 2017 UOB Malaysia Painting Competition. His works often employ a variety of different materials and mediums, and his techniques and ideas derived from reflecting on and evoking memories through the natural landscape.
Chok Yue Zan has an innate affinity with the natural environment. The natural sceneries of his Malaysian hometown, the intimate time spent with his family, the dense forest around him, and the rolling clouds over the sky and sea are all timeless memories of the artist's coming of age, which has subsequently become precious inspirations to his works of art.
When we look closely at the artist's works and count the branches and leaves between the clouds, we can see that Chok Yue Zan's artworks have always revolved around the speculation of "memories." On top of this central theme, the artist branches out several subjects, such as clouds, ocean, forest trees, which extend to broader imaginary fields such as the environment, physical space, time, and human relations.
Chok Yue Zan is sensible to adopting mixed media for his works, whose attention to the texture and layering of the works is critical. In this project, his two works, Clouds, No. 3, and In My Place III, employ mixed media, generating disparate visual effects. Clouds, No. 3 begins with the application of thick acrylics on the canvas and eventually amounts to 12 layers, followed by rendering gradient colors and clouds with oil paint. Finally, Chok applied a woodcut technique to carve out the branches and leaves. Whereas, In My Place III consists of two parts. The first is to render a forest on canvas with oil paint, and the second is to apply acrylic to the semi-dried surface to render the texture of the tree bark on a concave wooden board in the middle of the picture.
For Chok Yue Zan, painting is a process of transferring emotion and temperament to another object through the hands and brush and adding tactility to the picture by creating texture or brush strokes. Today, we can look at his diverse genres of painting, be it figurative or abstract. Moreover, the various visual effects generated from different techniques can provoke disparate interpretations. When artists paint with materials, they attach a particular meaning of life, which often reflects and permeates the works of the artists.
Artist Lv Hongliang's works take the self as a point of departure. With a passion for life, the artist, who has been practicing painting since childhood, is committed to this very medium despite the availability of other creative possibilities.
When artist Lv Hongliang creates, he attempts to integrate the psychological state of painting into his works on canvas. Among the ordinary still-life paintings, the artist depicts flowers, leaves of plants, and the edges of utensils with large blocks of color and liberal brush strokes. This not only fills the whole picture with the contrast of the vibrant layers of color, but the changes from the staggered color blocks allow us to feel the artist's inner emotions fully.
Around 2015, an apparent shift of focus took place in Lv Hongliang's work and using the artist's own words, his state of mind went from indoors to outdoors. At that time, he went to Qingdao with his friends to sketch, and when he arrived at the beach, he was suddenly captured by the vast sea. As the artist reveals: "In Shanghai, life and work are more or less restricted, but the fluctuation of the sea before my eyes seems to be extremely free and unrestrained". Since then, various kinds of ebbs and flows appeared under the artist’s brush. And with which, Lv sought out the point where nature and state of mind merged, painting the sea - allowing him to strike a better balance between self-expression and the portrayal of the real world. To a certain extent, visualizing nature has given him greater freedom of expression and enabling him to fill the real world with images that embody his own inner emotions. What comes out from his brushstrokes is joyful color released from his inner world's surging emotions.
Lv Xu’s works convey another kind of sense - calmness. On the one hand, Lv Xu shows a particular affinity for the objects he depicts in figurative and realistic paintings; on the other hand, his practice's proposition and direction require him to reserve a space of play and imagination for the given scenes. The spiritual imagery of the mountains propelled the artist to render subtler layers of space.
The material connotations of mountains, trees, and clouds are, in fact, worth exploring, and the mid-air perspective is deliberately taken to portray the artist's scenery. The light from the distant mountains and the dappled shadows in the woods, gathered together, reveal a peaceful atmosphere and the connection between the symbolic reality and the abstract emotions that the artist tries to present.
In Lv Xu's view, figurative realism and abstract expression can be integrated into painting. In the process of the artist's creation, when the realistic part of the picture is advanced to a certain degree, some details would pop out: for example, the leaves of trees, the edge of clouds and sunset, the shadows of objects and other localized components, which, when magnified, become more and more obscure and indistinct, exhibiting certain abstract quality. For the figurative parts, with the ongoing rendition, they become ineffable. These two modes of expression - figuration and abstraction - are mutually exclusive and interrelated under certain conditions.
On the expression of nature, Chok Yue Zan, Lv Hongliang, and Lv Xu have incorporated one's states of mind into the natural sceneries, where every depiction is based on the artist’s realizations and observations of his surroundings. Their exploration with painting and different types of mixed media allowed them to convey the ideal landscapes of their minds. These images do not only include their personal memories, but also their awakenings, promises and visions of the present reality and imminent future.