FONG, Luise

Minor (Triptych)

1994
Ink, Acrylic And Gouache On Board
2040 x 2610mm

Luise Fong was born in 1964 at Sandang, Malaysia, arriving in New Zealand in the same year. In 1989 she graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts where she then lectured before in 1994 moving to Melbourne where she was an artist in residence at the Victorian College of Arts. In 1994 she won the Premier Award at the Visa Gold Art Awards with this work, Minor. Her work has attracted a good deal of commentary in the art press, been widely collected and much exhibited.

It has featured in all the major comprehensive exhibitions of the 90s featuring younger contemporary New Zealand artists: Shadow of Style (1992), Alter Image (1993), A Very Peculiar Practice (1995), Cultural Safety (1995) and Skirting Abstraction (1996). Minor is characteristic of Fong’s work in that it explores diaphanous surfaces, possibly as a kind of overhang from her training as a textile designer. Her paintings of this period, like Richard Thompson’s, were made on doors and thus have a familiar scale in relationship to the body.

Her doors are covered with blots, stains and holes which never let the eye rest and which have a distinctive fluidity, deliberately viewed as feminine in sharp contrast to the hard edged abstraction of her male predecessors. Fong unashamedly wants to make beautiful surfaces, in this case surfaces in a minor key, sombre and brooding. The musical title legitimises an emotional response in the viewer.