Tang Yau Hoong: Ambiguity in Negative Space

Online media never cease to surprise me. It’s great to know another talented Malaysian artist through Behance — Tang Yau Hoong. I have been following his works in Behance since last year, and I’m seeing some of his works for my visual research.Tang keen to articulate his ideas in conjunction with positive and negative space. Besides working on illustrations for editorial, advertisements and posters, he also prints his works on T-shirts and sells online.

Like many artists who use negative space to express ambiguity ideas, Tang is no exception. Cleverly using well-shaped negative space, he ambiguously transform the neglected spacing into another world. Many of his works (Fig. 1 to Fig. 9) apply the principle of Gestalt psychology (Wertheimer, 1923, p. 301), i.e. multistability, factor of closure, factor of proximity, law of similarity, etc. Besides, he seems much inspired by M.C Escher, it is obvious to see one of his works Erasing Hands (Fig. 10) paying tribute to Escher’s Drawing Hands, in similar layout and media; while another illustration Day vs. Night (Fig. 4) seems a delightful version of Day and Night. Many brighter toned parts in his works are seemed as figure because the “brighter areas seemingly tend to be figure when other factors are kept equal.” (Arnheim, 1969, p. 231)


Fig. 1. Tang Yau Hoong, Journey to the City of No Horizon, 2011. http://www.behance.net/tangyauhoong


Fig. 2. Tang Yau Hoong, Nostalgic Mood, 2011. http://www.behance.net/tangyauhoong


Fig. 3. Tang Yau Hoong, Coexistence, 2011. http://www.behance.net/tangyauhoong


Fig. 4. Tang Yau Hoong, Day vs. Night, 2011. http://www.behance.net/tangyauhoong


Fig. 5. Tang Yau Hoong, Feather of Life, 2011. http://www.behance.net/tangyauhoong


Fig. 6. Tang Yau Hoong, Moustacheville, 2011. http://www.behance.net/tangyauhoong


Fig. 7. Tang Yau Hoong, Little Red Riding Hood, 2011. http://www.behance.net/tangyauhoong


Fig. 8. Tang Yau Hoong, Skyzip, 2011. http://www.behance.net/tangyauhoong


Fig. 9. Tang Yau Hoong, Dawn, 2011. http://www.behance.net/tangyauhoong


Fig. 10. Tang Yau Hoong, Erasing Hands, 2011. http://www.behance.net/tangyauhoong

Arnheim, Rudolf (1969) Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye. Berkeley CA: University of California Press

Wertheimer, Max (1923) ‘Laws of Organization in Perceptual Forms’, Untersuchungen zur Lehre von der Gestalt 2 (4), 301-350, http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Wertheimer/Forms/forms.htm (visited 15/10/13)


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