The Star, 13 January 2006
Youthful spirit, thoughtful maturity
by Lim Chia Ying
Figurative arts exploring the human form take centre stage this time around at Wei-Ling Gallery in Brickfields.
And what better way to usher in the New Year than to feature the works of three up-and-coming artists who share similar boldness in their approach.
For Cheong Tuck Wai, Low Lee Peng and Ng Geok Hwa, their oil on canvas pieces spell a sense of novelty tinged with youthful exuberance and spirit.
Yet, their paintings depict maturity in thought that belies their young age, so much so you would have thought that their works are those of an established painter.
Cheong, the oldest at 27, showcases his ability in rendering the human form from all perspectives, with dreamy paintings of a woman tossing and turning in sleeplessness on her red pillow through his piece entitled No Sleep Series Red Pillow.
The piece palpably illustrates the agony of insomnia.
Born in Kuantan, Cheong was also a winner of the Nokia Art Awards in 2003 for his submission entitled Gift.
In that piece, he painted a colourful heap of plastic bags to represent the “gifts” from humans to Earth – which is meant to translate to the pile of waste that humans are dumping on the planet.
That concept itself was enough to earn him the grand prize of RM5,000 and recognition through group exhibitions like the Philip Morris Malaysia & Bakat Muda Art Awards exhibition held at the National Art Gallery, which he cited as the most important turning point in his life as an artist so far.
“I only took up painting seriously seven years ago when I came to Kuala Lumpur to study at the Dasein Academy of Art.
“Since young, I have always liked painting figures. Joining the Nokia Art Awards was for the experience of it, but never did I expect to win,” said Cheong.
For the 26-year-old petite Low, her works are mainly wooden houses and zinc roofs that are haunting yet melancholic at the same time.
Using the two-colour combination of pastel green and red, her paintings are defined by repetitive, straight lines with geometrical dimensions, and in one of her poignant pieces, heads could be seen popping out from windows of the houses.
“I often have nightmares, and these dreams are my source for inspiration.
“To draw something, I often think for a long time. And it also depends a lot on my mood,” said the Bentong-born girl.
As a result, her surreal works would just leave viewers in a state of reverie and later to find out more about the story behind each scene.
In another corner of the gallery are close-up paintings of the naked women in various poses by 25-year-old Ng, who put her fascination for the female form onto canvas.
Her works are without the women’s head, and are instead focused on the shapes and curves and beauty of the female body.
“I stress on simplicity, and prefer to play with colours and light,” said Ng.
Incidentally, all three studied at the same academy and graduated in 2003. And if being college mates is not enough, they are now staying under the same roof.
“Being housemates, we can just inspire each other because we get along so well and share the same passion,” said Cheong.
The exhibition is on until Jan 25.
For more details, call 03-2260 1106.