'being human' # 4 : Kow Leong Kiang

Lonely Assassin
Oil on linen / 220 x 220cm / 2014

Kow Leong Kiang (b. 1970, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia) is a graduate of Kuala Lumpur College of Art (1991). Since winning the Grand Prize at the Phillip Morris ASEAN Art Award (1998), he has attracted much attention and success. To date, Kow has held multiple solo exhibitions; ‘Floating World’, 'Silent Conversation’, ‘Other People’, and ‘Intimate Collisions’ at Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur; ‘Soft’ at Jogja Contemporary, Sangkring Art Space, Yogyakarta, ‘To The Sea’ at Ernst & Young, Singapore, and most recent ‘Blue Sarong’, the Whiteaways in George Town, Penang last year. The exhibition titles hint a visual repertoire that includes ideas about memory, poetic realism and nostalgia as mediated by a connection to the land, human emotion, portraiture as well as subtle political/social consciousness in Malaysian context. The figures set against pastoral scenes and coastal landscapes, suggest a gentler way of living. The draw and attraction to these sentiments are perhaps because of his urban upbringing. The idyll complemented by his painterly technique of utilizing thinned out watercolour-like oil washes evoke a gestural stance that is of timelessness.