Happy 2022! We're excited to kick off Pickings, our new series of contemporary art recommendations assembled by staffers of the AC43 team. Each edition of artworks featured in Pickings is grouped in accordance to medium, with the editorial focus of introducing you to the broader art trajectory consisting of Singapore's brightest and boldest young visual artists.
For our first edition, we're exploring the limitless world of inks! The selection of artists — Ng Sock Hwa Sammy, Tan Seow Wei, Tay Shuh Fung, and Toh Chee Hao — are handpicked for their idiosyncratic and witty take on the medium, as can be seen in the variety of works gathered in this selection. Read on to find out more:
Ng Sock Hwa Sammy, What Gathering 群聚, 2022, Ink on paper, 24 x 94 cm
Ng Sock Hwa Sammy, Annoyance 真讨厌, 2022, Ink on paper, 69 x 46 cm
Ng Sock Hwa Sammy (b. 1974) graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 2010 with a Diploma in Fine Arts. She majored in Ink Painting under the tutelage of renowned artists Tan Kian Por, Tan Kee Sek, Wee Beng Chong from 2008 to 2010 and Oh Chai Hoo since 2014. In 2011, Sock Hwa was invited to join Siaw-Tao Chinese Seal Carving, Calligraphy & Painting Society and has since participated yearly in their annual members art exhibition. She was conferred the 14th Siaw-Tao Annual "Distinguished Art Award" in 2019 and her works can be found in the collections of Ngee Ann Kongsi, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and private collectors both locally and internationally.
Referring to herself as an eternal optimist who harbours dreams to change the world, Sock Hwa hopes that her works will continue to provoke thoughts or better still, spur positive actions on social issues which have impacted not just her but also the people around her. Her recent works address topics relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and post-lockdown life in Singapore, while continuing to articulating her concerns over the worldwide challenges that are exacerbated by the overconsumption of plastics.
Tan Seow Wei, Laksa 2 叻沙 2, 2022, Chinese ink and colour on paper, 90 x 36 cm
Tan Seow Wei, Hokkien Mee 2 福建面 2, Chinese ink and colour on paper, 73 x 43 cm
Tan Seow Wei (b. 1979) graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts in 2008 with a BA (Hons) in Painting. Over the years she had been awarded the Dr Tan Tsze Chor Art Award in 2003, Georgette Chen Scholarship in 2006, and the Winston Oh Travel Award in 2007.
Her works are best described as almost-autobiographical, with the artist's personal negotiation of the complexities of urban time and space being a preoccupying theme in her art practice. Apart from that, the line quality and psyche of the human body occasionally appears as a subject of intense study in her works. They manifest in the form of the unassuming dandelion, evoking a sense of quiet resilience and strength powering through a muted colour palette. Seow Wei enjoys experimentations in various mediums. She often draws inspiration from the age-old fundamentals of Chinese ink painting and traditional printmaking techniques in her mixed media compositions.
Tay Shuh Fung, Seeking Tranquility 寻幽, 2022, Chinese ink and colour on paper, 138 x 68 cm
Tay Shuh Fung, The Depth of Stillness 静之深, 2022, Chinese ink and colour on paper, 68 x 68 cm
Born in Singapore, Tay Shuh Fung (b. 1968) is an educator who has devoted her most of her professional career to art teaching. After graduating from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 1993 with a Diploma in Fine Arts, Shuh Fung went on to accumulate multiple accolades in the local art industry, including winning the Distinction Award in the Dr Tan Tsze Chor Art Award Competition (Western Painting Category) in 1998 and 2000, and the Special Award in the Open Category of the National Teochew Artists Chinese Painting Competition in 2006 among others.
Shuh Fung works in the medium of ink painting, oil on canvas, and seal carving. Meditative at first glance, her paintings are characterised by a playful exploration of compositional space through the creative employment of simple forms and colour blocking techniques.
Toh Chee Hao, Singapore Cityscape, 2019, Chinese ink and colour on paper, 136 x 68 cm
Toh Chee Hao, Forgotten Trades Coconut Dehusker 印籍削椰人, 2017, Chinese ink on paper, 137 x 68.5 cm
Toh Chee Hao (b. 1987) has been immersed in painting from a very young age under the influence of his parents. In the recent two decades, Chee Hao has developed a specialisation in traditional Chinese ink subjects such as birds and flowers, landscapes, and figures. His work also focuses on Nanyang themes, as can be seen in his Peranakan and local series that depicts the people of Singapore alongside iconic architectural buildings and features that make up the country.
Chee Hao has exhibited extensively in various art exhibitions as well as participated in competitions both locally as well as overseas. At present, Chee Hao is the Vice President in Evergreen Chinese Arts Society and is the General Affairs manager in Siaw-Tao Chinese Seal Carving, Calligraphy & Painting Society. Chee Hao is also a part-time lecturer for Chinese Ink Painting with the National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) as well as at Confucius Institute, Nanyang Technological University. He also teaches Chinese Ink Painting at the Siaw-Tao Clubhouse.