Peisy Ting’s Transcendence collection of artworks bear testimony to her personality, her life journey and the metaphysics of a search for meaning.
Her debut solo exhibition, which she has titled Transcendence — A Visual Exploration of Self, “explores the boundaries of introspection, reflection and emotion in its purest abstraction: created to give viewers a multi-layered visual odyssey by wielding bold colours and composition, enabling a visceral sensory experience encompassing joy and sorrow, strength and vulnerability, conflict and peace”, in her own words.
According to Ting, the collection was inspired by the “dramatic events of recent months”. “The global pandemic spared no one … Isolation became the norm, while uncertainty produced fear and anxiety. This new reality has shifted previous normalcy and complacency to such an extent that we are now questioning our state of mind.”
But it appears that she was already in questioning mode some time before the pandemic. Dark undertones are recurrent in her paintings of 2018 and 2019, perhaps a foreboding of worse to come. Separation Consciousness and Conscious Interlude, both created in 2018, were full of uncertainty and doubt. Ting’s interpretative text to Separation Consciousness states, “In our zeal to stand out and be different from others, our sense of who we are and what we ultimately stand for is skewed for one reason or another. Our pretence of ‘self’ is often in play as we may question who we are.” This work, she says, is a description of the quixotic yet realistic position one is faced with on an almost daily basis as we face life’s challenges and make decisions that may impact both ourselves and others.
In Conscious Interlude, a triptych, she asks: “During the night when you go to bed, or even when you meditate, during that brief moment of time before you drift into another world … do you see colours or patches of dull light amongst the wall of emptiness? In this realm, does your mind run wild with a thousand thoughts, or does it just wander about searching for something, an answer, or perhaps some sort of enlightenment?”
In 2019, she created pieces that she titled Conflicted, Mind Over Matter and Requiem of the Heart. That same year, she showed some of her works at a group exhibition in London. That was a milestone for her, she says. Momentarily restored somewhat, she created The Known Unknown and Piercing Solitude, which give hints of some clarity and hope, with clean lines and the completeness of circular shapes, even as they are rendered bleak with the nothingness of black in the centre.
Then, there are the really dark pieces of 2020, created presumably during the weeks and weeks of lockdown isolation, impacted by the social media bombardment of sharing and expressing emptiness: When Heaven Burns, Destructed Reality, Destructed Dream, Shadow of Dusk, Ghost of Time, Emotional Juxtaposition of Time and Space — Blue, Red and Green are all murky and messy, with colours bleeding, black strokes of horror and some wistful, wishful white flashes.
And finally, a glimmer of hope: Transference of Light, a diptych. Of her most recent work, done in June-July, Ting says, “Incomprehensible elements from an unknown origin transcend the boundaries of where we are, giving rise to a new level of hope.” This much pleasing, calming creation shares a ray of light, moving from dark to bright, with little specks of gold — a hint of more perhaps.
Ting graduated with a degree in Visual Communications from the UK and worked as an art director in advertising with international companies for more than a decade before she left to pursue her passion for painting contemporary abstracts and continue her search for meaning. Her works are beginning to be noticed elsewhere in the world. She has made a couple of international sales in New York and Europe, and was commissioned for some artworks by a hotel in the Maldives.
Ting may seem hesitant and introspective — she works at the titles and interpretative subtext for her works with honesty and attention to detail and nuances. “I do struggle with words,” she confesses, but she is bold, adept and expressive with her brush.
Ironically and perhaps unknowingly, Ting has titled her exhibition Transcendence, in keeping with an integral tenet of classical art and aesthetics that when the personal transcends to become the universal, art is created. As she engages in the exploration of self through art, she hopes to engage others in the same journey.
'Transcendence ‒ A Visual Exploration of Self', ZHAN Art | Space, The School, Jaya One, PJ. Until Sept 27. Daily, 11am-7pm.
This article first appeared on Sept 7, 2020 in The Edge Malaysia.