Press Release: Opening of Poh Siew Wah’s Island In The Sun on 12 Jan 2019 (3pm)
Exhibition: Island In The Sun
Artist: Poh Siew Wah (Singapore)
Venue: Daiichi Art Space
25 Jalan Argyll, Penang.
Official Opening: 12 Jan 2019
Exhibition Period: 12 Jan to Feb 24, 2019
Opening Hours: 1pm - 6pm (Closed on Mondays)
Contact: Email: email@example.com; HP: 016 418 8967
PENANG: In Island In The Sun, Poh Siew Wah breaks new grounds in his abstractions to come up with muted, soft and mellowed shades inspired by the beauty and bustling life, but with a more universal appeal.
It has a bifurcating strands of abstracts in acrylic on canvas, and the other with coloured ink on Chinese rice paper.
The exhibition of represents a major change in his abstract explorations and experiments since his first abstract painting, Pink, Yellow and White (acrylic, gesso on board, 1989). The whispery, meditative works contrast sharply with his earlier abstracts of greater demarcation of forms with vibrant colours and vigorous strokes.
With a bird’s-eye-view, his works explore the dynamics of shapes and delineations, and touch on issues like horizon, infinity, reminiscences, romance and ambiguity.
His abstract styles run the repertoire of standards like AbEx, Minimalism, Colour Field and even collage. There are drips, splotches and splashes, and shapes that are organic and geometric. Focal points are not rigid, while the composition is unusually sometimes cleft in two. The present works reveal a more lyrical and cleaner veneer.
Siew Wah comes from a pioneering abstract tradition in Singapore that has the likes of Goh Beng Kwan, Wee Beng Chong, Choy Weng Yang, Wong Keen and the late Anthony Poon.
Whatever the changes, central to his works is the core theme of Equilibrium, the series and title of his 1992 exhibition. ‘Equilibrium,’ to Siew Wah, is “an expression to resonate the inner feeling for perfection, harmony, balance and unity. It is a universal truth embodying a spiritual endeavor between Man and Nature and between Man and mankind.”
“Equilibrium is a buried truth, a perfect interrelation of a supposedly paradisiacal state of utopia,” he had commented.
A hugely versatile second-generation Singapore artist, Siew Wah (b. 1948) has painted seriously in various media for nearly 50 years and has taught art in Singapore colleges for 32 years. This exhibition is his Malaysian debut, and is only his second solo outside Singapore, his first being at Flensburg in Germany in 1995
Apart from the soothing landscapes, his other half of works with a free-wheeling style and equally exciting, dwells on ink brushstrokes capturing the bustle of the Penang street scenes in his own inimitable way. This type of works was first unveiled in the exhibition, Ink Enchantment, earlier last year at the EC Fine Art Gallery, Singapore.
Siew Wah’s earlier works were more narrative of street figures, while he has also transferred his paintings on China’s famous Jindezhen wares.
He was trained in art tutelage, first at the Singapore’s Institute of Education (Art major, 1970; Advance certificate, 1979) and then the Baharrudin Vocational Institute (Applied Art, 1972). He also supplemented with short-term courses at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Art.
His works are also commemorated in Singapore postage stamps, from 1984 to 1996, besides postcards. He was also commissioned the Farrer Park Singapore MRT (North East Line) murals called Rhythmic Exuberance, of sports athletes.
Siew Wah has been featured in major Singapore national exhibitions such as the 25 Years of Art in Singapore (National Museum, Singapore, 1984), Singapore Centenary (National Museum, Singapore, 1987), Masterpieces from Private Collection (1988), the Singapore 2nd Generation (2005) exhibition and the SG50 Cultural Landscape of Singapore watercolour exhibition in 2015, group exhibitions like the Paris Salon (Grand Palais, Paris, 1989), apart from international exchanges.
His awards include the Singapore Art Society’s Tan Tze Chor Award (2010), the NAFA Alumni Distinction in Creative Art Award (1984, 1987, 1988) and 1st Prize Art Award (2005), and the National Art Council travel grant that resulted in his Flensburg solo in 1995.
His works are in the collections of the Flensburg Staditishe Museum in Germany; Changzhou HuaXia Park Museum; Wanju-Gun Art Museum (South Korea); Ratchadamneon Art Centre, Bangkok; Andaman Art Museum (Krabi) and several universities in Thailand; and in Singapore, the Singapore Art Museum, the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, National Art Council, the National Library and EDB.