My studio practice originates, not from an idea, but an imaginative engagement with reality. The paper-cut collages and paintings, selected from a current body of works, exhibit the characteristics and the trajectory of an evolving artistic production. At the moment of assembly, paper-cut collages give shape to and advance the corresponding paintings and small sculptures. To the classical principles and conventions that continue to inform my studio practice, one can add abstraction or, to be precise — abstracting from. This method of construction initiates new opportunities in the representation of the motif in both shape and colour.
Euan Heng was born in Oban in 1945 and moved with his family to Australia in 1977. He lives and works in Melbourne. Between 1960 and 1970 Euan was employed in various occupations, including four years as a merchant seaman travelling worldwide. He completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee in 1975 and was awarded a research MA from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in 1995.
Euan Heng explores the role of abstraction in figuration through his practice. Much of his work derives from something seen, heard or remembered, but Heng also plays with artifice and the imaginary. His fascination with flatness, expressed with immediacy and economy is influenced by his interest in Italian iconography, medieval frescoes, Chinese portraits and 16th century Mughal art. His elegant meditations on line and shape incorporate recurring motifs from the artist’s career, including the portrait, stripped of many features; the tree, sharp and geometric; and the sea, which figured so strongly in the artist’s early life as a sailor. Heng has exhibited extensively in Australia and abroad and his work is represented in major public and university museum collections in all states of Australia and in Scotland.