For Malaysian artist Liew Mei Toong, 2023 has been a balancing act. As she returns to Galerie Stephanie, Balance: A Year in Reflection returns inwards as it revisits the past year.

Indeed, following Metamorphosis, the artist has changed; she shows herself in the sense of her state of mind: “reserved, striving for stability, and often busy”.

This much is revealed in her artistic expressions, which we find now articulated with greater degrees of symmetry and contrast. Her colors are intense and her compositions favor order, but neither overpowers the other. Everywhere, stones continue to line and dot the view. As before, they bear faces; with their eyes closed, it is unclear whether they lie dormant or absorbed in contemplation.

Her new works emit a kaleidoscopic fluorescence, patterns seem to dance on their own accord—their movement constant and calming, with a dazzling vitality. Mei Toong also returns to the zentangle method to capture ripples of water, flowing through and embracing the shapes about it.
Negative and positive space create the illusion of coruscating shapes. Nothing is perfectly symmetrical, straight, or identical, but we have their rhythm.

For Mei Toong, repetition provides a form of art therapy, offering an outlet for her uninhibited subconscious, free of overthinking. And with each brushstroke and crayon mark, she pours out total abandon, just as she has and continues to let both painful and beautiful memories course through her and shape her.

Text by Gabrielle Gonzales