This new exhibition at artcommune gallery features 15 ink paintings by Singapore ink master, Chen Wen Hsi. Gathered from esteemed collections, the showcase includes notable subject matters in Wen Hsi’s oeuvre such as the highly sought-after paintings on Egrets and Gibbons.
Chen Wen Hsi (b. 1906 – d. 1992) is among Singapore’s most important pioneer artists. In 1952, after the historic Bali painting trip with fellow artist-educators Cheong Soo Pieng, Liu Kang and Chen Chong Swee, he invigorated the early Singapore art scene by advancing the Nanyang art style as well as Chinese ink aesthetics.
Born in Guangdong, China, Wen Hsi was exposed to traditional Chinese ink painting and calligraphy since young. In his youth, he enrolled at Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts and subsequently transferred to Xinhua Academy of Fine Arts where he was inspired by some of China’s most talented artists of the period. During these formative years, he was taught the progressive techniques of Western modern art and studied Chinese ink painting under Pan Tianshou, from whom he also picked up one of the most valorised and technically-challenging Chinese ink expressions – finger-painting. By the time of his arrival in Singapore in 1949, Wen Hsi’s proficiency in both Chinese and Western pictorial styles enabled him to continually synthesize and evolve artistic expressions that straddle between East-West modern aesthetics.
Wen Hsi was known for his fondness for observing and sketching animals. He kept a variety of pets including chickens, sparrows and gibbons in his backyard, often featuring these animals as subject matters in his prolific body of work. His masterful ink paintings, which commonly depict animals like sparrows, mynahs, ducks, gibbons and squirrels, continue to enjoy critical acclaim to this day. In his lifetime, Wen Hsi’s artworks were well collected by national institutions and private collectors in Asia. In more recent years, his mastery of, and unique contribution to Chinese ink aesthetics have been increasingly recognised in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Venue: artcommune gallery, 231 Bain Street, Bras Basah Complex, #03-39 Singapore 180231
When: 14 - 28 Jul 2016,