Bottle paintings are from an iconic series of Ng Chung. He has been painting wine bottles for more than two decades from his studio situated in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong. Bottles have become his recurring objects of his paintings because of his sentiment for alcohol, and have also transformed into a ‘symbol’ for expression and the painting process as a journey in search of the artist’s personal identity. Dr. Yang Xiao-yan, Head of Department of Journalism at Sun Yat-sen University and a renowned art critic, described Ng Chung’s bottles as “a projected ‘image’ of the meaning of self that defines his own identity. […] his paintings become the basis to illustrate the compound visual concept of ‘image/symbol/wine bottles’, and the only way to prove the worth of individual existence. His experience and his paintings are profound implications of the tension between the society of Hong Kong and himself.”
In addition to Ng Chung’s Bottle Series, the artist also creates abstract, floral still-life and figurative oil paintings. In his abstract paintings, the artist attempts to visually express his self-conscious emotions on the canvases through luscious colours and boorish texture. On the contrary, his floral still-life paintings employ a careful balance of subdued colours and tones. The paintings are deceptively simple and discreet, evoking a sense of loneliness and pensiveness.
Ng Chung’s Cigar Box Series are figurative paintings about the different people surrounding his life, such as his friends, his daughter, collectors, and apprentices. In this latest body of works, he explores his relationships with these people, or sometimes the objects related to them. The shapes of the works depict thick books, as though the artist is trying to read his friends like a novel, attempting to discover the mysteries behind each personality. The images are painted on empty cigar boxes, representing the memories of the times he spends with his contacts.