吴启基,“青花的罗摩衍那”,联合早报,现在,2012年5月29日,8页
Goh, Kay Kee, “The Blue Ramayana: Solo Exhibition by Quek Kiat Sing”, Lianhe Zaobao, zbNow, 29 May 2012, p 8. (Translation) 2012-09-30

The freedom of artistic expression should include the freedom of choice of techniques and subject-matters.  Most practitioners with formal academic trainings tend to pay tribute to their respective practices, at the expense of rejecting other traditions.  For example, some feel that Chinese Ink Painting should only explore traditional subject matters like plum blossom, orchid, bamboo and chrysantimum.  Others might feel that only oil painting is the rightful medium for capturing figure and other modern subjects.
In this recent exhibition, “Poses and Movements” by local artist Quek Kiat Sing, we witness the spirit of artistic freedom. While she used to paint abstract landscape, she has turned her focus to figure drawing, a highly demanding subject, in the past few years.
She said, “I have gained understanding of human structure from my past practice in figure drawing. More importantly, I have gained from the guidance of my two teachers. I used to sit in the Chinese Ink Painting Class of my mentor Mr. Chua Ek Kay while he was teaching.  At times, I would pass him my works for a critique session. He felt that I should begin with a detailed composition before I seek to simplify it. If I start with a minimalist style, I might not have anything to simplify any further. He once saw my figure painting and felt that I could explore the subject.   Hence I shifted my focus to figure painting. Another teacher of mine, Mr. Tan Siow Aik felt that traditional Chinese Ink Painting can be used to express any subject matter as long as one focuses on the use of ink and brushwork. Upon grasping this idea, I make use of the technique of landscape paintings freely in my figure paintings all the time.
Kiat Sing who had several solo exhibitions before, is now showcasing three series of works: Fantaisie-Parodie, Blue Ramayana and lastly Everyday Singapore, with many pieces belonging to each series on display.
In Fantaisie-Parodie series, she refers to the French Impressionist and Post-impressionist paintings which she personally likes and often lectures on. The five works in these series gather and rearrange the French Impressionist paintings by borrowing familiar figures in them and creating a new composition.
The interesting thing is that Kiat Sing’s works are very different from the original pieces. While the French Impressionist Paintings focused on light and colour, the transformation into ink painting created interesting ink and line works.
Another topic on display is the Blue Ramayana Series.  The Ramayana is one of the two important Indian Epics.  It has an exalted place in Indian literature and religion; and there exist various versions of Ramayana all throughout Southeast Asia. The narration is about Prince Rama, his wife Sita and the monkey Hanuman, as well as the many battles with the evil Ravanna.  The entire Epic in Sanskrit contains seven volumes, and these are often presented in performances, music and literary works.
Kiat Sing was touched by a performance she watched on Ramayana.  And she was once urged to seek an Asian theme rather than western topics alone. She pondered upon the use of Asian history and literary figures, and settled on this Indian classic. However, this is not easy because it requires careful observation and composition.  The Kathakali Dance that expresses religious theme is commonly employed to present the Ramayana Epic. By observing this dance, she needed to translate the body structures of the female dancers into male depictions to suit the roles in the story.
One interesting feature is the use of indigo Blue for this series.  Some felt that this is not an auspicious colour and should not be used to paint figure.  She has however signed off even in this indigo blue so that there is an overall harmony in the works.  There are seven of these in all.
The third series is entitled, Everyday Singapore. This largest series employed local mundane subject matters such as commuters taking buses or MRT, family members watching TV, surfing the net, buying fried dough, rushing homework, going to the wet market and the like. The biggest piece is on the MRT commuters, of different age and gender, with varied expressions.
The 27 works were created since 2010.

  • Opens until 3rd June, 11am – 7pm at the Luxe Art Museum (6 handy Road, #02-01)

Translated by Quek Kiat Sing

Quek Kiat Sing画家介绍

Quek Kiat Sing juxtaposes modern-day subjects with traditional Chinese Ink to emphasise the relevancy of Asian culture in contemporary life.» read more

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