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Series 2010

The Icon-luminous series is highly charged with tension, ironic humour, sensuality, and ambiguity.  The strong, fluorescent colours are sensual and contemporary, and serve to create an intense luminosity, which act as somatic stimuli; her palette is influenced by the luminous lights and neon signs of the city, as well as those found in space.  Apart from continuing to investigate and render the battle between desire and guilt, this series investigates three main areas.  Firstly, cyber subculture; the new formation of varying cyber texts, chat languages and slang.  Secondly, the sequence seeks to explore the relationship between cultural values and the subconscious.  Thirdly, the paintings try to capture the everyday, ranging from mundane to the current global political, social and economic climate.

The impetus to create the paintings came from a sense of linguistic estrangement felt by Ting every time she returned to Hong Kong.  The artist felt as though she had to learn a new language every time.  She went back; there were so many new forms of slang and invented words and terms.  Around the same time she was receiving a myriad of office and internet slang e-mails and noticed the power and potential this new cyber subculture had to create a new, unofficial language.  Ting wanted to capture this interesting phenomenon, as well as the instability of the current global climate, and did so by setting up a contrast in her work between the humorous/ironic and sense of angst typical of today’s world.

The paintings are multi-layered and each contain a variety of shapes which have naturally emerged from the canvas and been subconsciously enhanced.  A few layers of Chinese writing can be detected beneath the surface, each communicating intimate feelings and thoughts – some regret and guilt – and these have been overlain with English quotes and extracts captured from the artist’s reading. The majority of these investigate the attainment of enlightenment and higher morality.  Another layer of Acrylic colour spread brings out the light and dark in the paintings.  Beneath this layer, a plethora of image transfer can be found which echo the kind of Hong Kong slang Ting was confronted with on a daily basis – humorous emoticons, ironic text language chat language and other office abbreviations.  Melancholy love songs, wedding vows, letters, notes, Chinese motifs and other collected patterns and neon signs fill the canvases as well.

The text in these paintings is, however, the main focus.  Continuing previous explorations into cultural identity and its conflicts, Ting was led to explore the philosophy and psychology of Sigmund Freud – in particular his research into dreams, the subconscious, duality and repression.  In Icon-luminous Ting plays around with the subconscious – in shape, colour and form- and he result is a highly ambiguous sequence of imagery.

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