international drawing annual 5 exhibition-in-print
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Soon Ee Ngoh
Mississippi State, Mississippi

Mississippi State University, Associate Professor

page 126


I consider myself a realist artist, and for many years I have focused on creating realistic renderings of still lifes from direct observation. As a graduate student, traditional printmaking was my primary medium but since moving to Mississippi more than a decade ago, I have been predominantly drawing with materials such as graphite, conté, charcoal, ink, colored pencils, and pastels. Unlike printmaking, which is steeped in technical processes, drawing feels more flexible and immediate.

For me, the act of drawing is exciting, contradictory, liberating, and intimidating all at once. I often approach my drawings in a controlled manner, designing and planning my compositions carefully before I begin, but also leaving some room for spontaneity. I tend to build my marks slowly and meticulously, layer upon layer, to create volumetric forms in a convincing space, hence achieving a highly realistic look in my work. Occasionally I attempt to be impulsive and allow the hand to make loose gestural marks. Sometimes the marks become aggressive and raw, which creates a strong presence in the drawing; other times they are delicate and convey an ephemeral, intangible quality. As much as I like the seemingly unfinished look this method of drawing yields, I frequently feel compelled to rework the marks in order to achieve a more concrete result.

My interest in portraying still lifes comes from my desire to describe everyday objects accurately and to investigate how the formal elements of shape, value, color, and texture interact. However, the objects I choose to portray also function as symbols with narrative possibilities, transcending their physical roles to become metaphors for life's experiences. Content in my work is meaningful: I am interested in connections, in the relationships that are forged on a personal as well as universal level. We relate to one another and to our surroundings in ways that are physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural, and political. My work focuses on the consequences that arise from a breakdown or disconnect in these relationships, which often creates a sense of conflict, loss, and displacement. I hope my drawings will entice my viewers to ponder the implications of their own connections.


born: Selangor, Malaysia


University of Massachusetts at Amherst, MFA, 1998
Smith College, BA, 1991

selected awards/honors

College of Architecture, Art, and Design (CAAD) Artist Incentive Grant, Mississippi State University, 2009
Visual Arts Fellowship, Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC), 2008
Humanities and Arts Research Program (HARP) Grant, Mississippi State University, 2008
Visiting Artist-in-Residence, Loomis Chaffee School, 2008

selected publications

Sculptural Pursuit, Winter 2005 Volume 4 No. 1; Art/Literary Competition First Place Winner in Drawing. Highlands Ranch, CO: Hammer & Pen Productions, LLC p.16-21, 2005
The University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art; Emerging Artists Series. Hattiesburg, MS: University of Southern Mississippi p. 12-13, 2002
Smith Voices: Selected Works by Smith Alumnae. Northampton, MA: Smith College Press p. 134-135, 1999

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Tennessee Technological University Joan Derryberry Art Gallery: (Dis)connections, Cookeville, TN, 2009
McHenry County College Epping Gallery: Recent Work, Crystal Lake, IL, 2006
University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art Gallery II and Lok Gallery: Emerging Artists Series, Hattiesburg, MS, 2002
University of Wisconsin-Stout Furlong Gallery: Still Lifes, Menomonie, WI, 1999

selected group shows

Center for the Visual Arts Meadows Gallery: 42nd Annual Visual Arts Exhibition, Denton, TX, 2010
Maryland Federation of Art Circle Gallery: 33rd Annual Art on Paper Exhibition, Annapolis, MD, 2010
Art at Wharepuke Gallery: International Print Show, Kerikeri, Northland, New Zealand, 2010
South Shore Art Center Bancroft Gallery: White, Black & Shades of Gray, Cohasset, MA, 2009

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