Cerulean Skies
Chin Kong Yee

Townhouse Gallery is proud to present Cerulean Skies, Chin Kong Yee’s second solo exhibition with us. Inspired by Kong Yee’s residency with the 5th Summer Academy of Modern Art Symposium, held in Turda, Romania, in May 2004, his visits to Penang, Terengganu, and his hometown Kuala Lumpur, this exhibition reminds us that wherever one is in the world, the sky is always blue, overseeing all below it.

Having just returned from Romania and Europe after his month-long stay there, Kong Yee brought his first impressions of that part of the world back in his work, offering to us his unique, colourful interpretations of the native scenes and people. Depicting these impressions in his striking 360-degree fish eye lens perspective, Kong Yee presents wonderful seascapes, cityscapes and landscapes, recreating seemingly ordinary scenes in a very intimate way.

As with every painting he produces, Kong Yee strives to convey more than just what meets the eye. In this series, the irrefutable cerulean sky links everything below it wherever one goes in the world. However, depending on where one is and the time of the day, the shades of blue vary from midnight blue to cerulean afternoon. Contrast between what is above and what is below is strong, as seen in “Dungun” and “Cerulean Skies”, where the yellow of the beach meets the blue sky, in a meeting of complimentary colours. Yet there is always a sense of reflection, from sky to land and back, and an inane sense of space that permeates all his works.

To Kong Yee, life is a continuous journey in which to experiment and find one’s own way. He now feels more certain in his path, and this certainty is reflected in his current body of work. It is evident that Kong Yee’s style, use of colour and composition have developed to a new level in Cerulean Skies, and this, in part, had to do with the opportunity he had to travel to Europe. The light and the environment that he was exposed to had a profound effect on his outlook, and this can be seen in the slight variation of his treatment of paint for works done in Europe, as opposed to those done in Asia. It has become more apparent to him that ,just as there are many different shades of blue in the sky, there are just as many different cultures with their own characters and environments around the world.

Kong Yee’s focus has shifted too, and is now more on his experience of the environment, rather than on the passage of time, as was the case in his previous show with us. In Undulating Spaces, Kong Yee used the Actuality Accorded Painting (AAP) style, a style which he developed in order to get across the experience of “seeing”, or “being” at the very moment in which the event is occurring. Nothing is ever stagnant – images change and evolve as you look at them, as in reality. In Cerulean Skies, this sense of time is still present, as time is ever-present in any experience that we might have, but the focus is more on the surrounding space, the environment, which is the other ever-present factor in any experience.

Sponsored by UOB, Chin Kong Yee once again opens our eyes, this time to the Cerulean Skies above. We invite you to look up and experience the sky as he does, through a fish-eye lens.

This show is kindly sponsored by United Overseas Bank and will run at the Townhouse Gallery from June 6th to June 29th 2005. This exhibition will be officially opened by Mr. Chan Kok Seong, Chief Executive Officer, United Overseas Bank (M) Bhd , at a cocktail reception at the Townhouse Gallery, on Thursday, 16th June 2005.