Ong’s latest paintings are exuberant and erotic depictions of figures suspended between moments of extreme pleasure and pain. The body is unapologetically exposed in its cravings. Bodily appetites are rendered in grotesque flourishes, redolent with black humour.
The durian, king of fruits, has particular prominence. Renowned, or some say infamous, for its odour and unique fleshy texture, it is represented as an object of desire on the canvas, causing the figures to go wild with limbs akimbo and jaws falling wide.
Allusions to the compositional and narrative structures of European history painting – altarpieces in particular – abound through playful appropriation of the sacred and the profane. These are baroque scenes of ritualistic indulgence, of food made carnal. Contemporary society’s pursuit of gastronomic delight is given a surrealistic twist.