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Solo exhibition of new photographic works by Ben Ali Ong.

BY Artereal Gallery | 12-Apr-2019
This April, Artereal Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition of new photographic works by Ben Ali Ong. Known for his black and white photography practice, Ben Ali Ong has established a reputation for creating bodies of work which juxtapose brooding dream-like imagery alongside minimalist abstract pieces defined by their poetic restraint. Often blurry, grainy, scratched or heavily distorted through darkroom processes – Ong’s pictorial choices appear to be made completely at random, creating a disjointed and surreal narrative.
Venue: Artereal Gallery
Address: 747 Darling Street, Rozelle, NSW, Australia, 2039.
Date: Exhibition runs from 3 April - 27 April, 2019.
Time: Gallery open 11am - 5pm, Wednesday - Saturday.
Web: http://artereal.com.au/exhibition/ben-ali-ong/
Solo exhibition of new photographic works by Ben Ali Ong
Ben Ali Ong_A thousand half loves_2019_Pigment Inkjet Print_Edition of 3_76 x 110cm.
In an era dominated by Instagram and snapchat filters, a world in which photoshopped images have become the norm, Ong’s works are part of a lineage which celebrates and explores the magic and mysteries of film, where manipulation is an experimental process that emerges from scientific experimentation within the confines of the darkroom. In creating recent works, Ong has embraced the imperfections and flaws inherited when working with old and expired vintage film – the happenstance marks of mould, scratches and dust indirectly documenting the passage of time.

Preferring the artworks to speak for themselves, Ong presents each new body of work in a manner that allows the viewer to construct their own self-reflective linkages, meanings and interpretations. This idea of the viewer as a narrator, or someone cast in the role of a decoding sleuth, is concurrent throughout all of Ong’s works and is inspired by Surrealist film and writing. The notion of the artwork being an open-ended fragment with multiple arrangements as well as the potential to convey a subconscious, or spiritual source.

The inherent allure of Ben Ali Ong’s photographs stems from the psychological pull which draws the viewer into each work. Ong’s work has an underlying sense of anguish and sorrow (perhaps even horror) which clings to these black and white photographs. The shadowy, brooding drama and chiaroscuro of the artist’s work captures the delicate interplay between lightness and darkness in a way which acts as a visual metaphor for the vagaries of human existence; alluding to the idea that the beauty and fragility of life are inseparable from the horror and sorrow which accompany it. The resulting emotional pull resonates with and touches some deep inner core which resides within all humanity, transporting us away from our everyday existence. In this way, Ong’s photographs, which are at once both beautiful and frightening, achieve a timeless, unknown, almost half forgotten quality or existence which touches upon ideas of life, death and morality.

In the artist’s own words:

"This new and untitled body of work was made with 35mm black and white film. In creating these works I have used various techniques to manipulate the images such as altering the chemical process during development, shooting with expired film, and deliberately using film that had mould on the emulsion. Some of the rolls of film which I used are incredibly rare and sought after – dating back to as early as the 1950’s.

The resulting marks and etchings are intended to create a dream-like, slightly removed world, where the focus is on mood, metaphor and feeling – as opposed to the more typical notion of photography being a recording of reality and truth. My aim was to subvert the traditional boundaries of the photographic medium. To embrace the textural element of photography, and in particular of film, and thereby celebrate and utilise its shortcomings and faults. But to do so in a controlled manner. To achieve a balance and elegance amidst the abstraction and chaos."

Ben Ali Ong has been exhibiting in solo and group exhibitions for over a decade and has been a finalist in many prestigious photographic awards including The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, The Redlands Art Prize, The Olive Cotton Photographic Prize, The Moran Photographic Prize and the Blake Prize. His work has been exhibited as part of solo exhibitions at the Queensland Centre for Photography, the Powerhouse Museum in Brisbane and as part of curated group exhibitions at Stills Gallery, Viscopy Galley, the National Art School Gallery, the Gold Coast Arts Centre, Mosman Gallery and Gosford Regional Art Gallery. His work is held in numerous corporate and private collections.

ARTIST TALK AND DINNER WITH THE ARTIST:br>
TUESDAY 16 APRIL AT 6.30PMbr>
AT ARTEREAL GALLERY br>
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Artereal Gallery invites you to an exclusive opportunity to hear Ben Ali Ong speak about his current solo exhibition of new works. The talk will be followed by a private dinner with the artist at Greekdoor restaurant in Balmain. br>
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Tickets: $75 per personbr>
To RSVP please email Artereal Gallery at: info@artereal.com.au