The Serene Path

Solo Exhibition by Oh Chai Hoo

Galerie Huit is delighted to present the solo exhibition ‘The Serene Path’, ’ by Singaporean artist, Oh Chai Hoo.

Exhibition Period:  12 January – 8 March 2018

Artist Talk: 11 January 2018, 6 – 7 pm (RSVP Essential)

Preview: 8 March 2018, 7 – 9 pm

Oh is a multi-disciplinary artist, whose distinguished career spans thirty years. His painting talent was discovered at the early age of fifteen by Goh Sing Hooi, the pioneering Singaporean watercolourist, who also nurtured his potential. Having gone through a period of rigorous training, Oh emerged to establish his own painting language and aesthetic, which bridged traditional and contemporary art forms. His widely acclaimed mixed media paintings combining metal foils, acrylic paint, sand – and his simplified, yet pointed ink work forged an alternative vocabulary.

In recent years, Oh’s oeuvre has expanded to include ceramic sculptures and seal carvings with a focus on a new series of paintings using solely ink. The temporal nature of the medium seeks a skilled artist’s sleight of hand to guide it to its optimum potential. Oh embraces its mercurial characteristics in order to determine a new painting method that works in simpatico with his deep interest in geology and rock formation whilst revisiting the thousand year old art form of stone appreciation.

The exhibition at Galerie Huit consists of approximately fourteen new vertical and horizontal ink paintings on rice paper scrolls.

In making the new series, Oh’s technique manipulates the immediacy of ink by saturating a large brush with self-mixed pigment then using local newsprint, he undertakes the physical actions of lifting, pulling and dragging the medium across rice paper to create textured depictions of mountain escarpments and vertiginous vistas. Counter to the precision of the brushwork in his early work, the artist’s broad physical actions and an element of chance contribute to the creation of the image.

Inspired by visits to natural monuments such as Bukit Timah and its surrounding natural reserve, Oh’s paintings are based on an assimilation of these memories. Subsequently, the images fluctuate between abstraction and the figurative. In the deeper hued pieces, ‘Passage’, ‘6.30am’ and ‘Movement’ they reach towards the sublime. Overlapping segments of thick black pigment, resonate Malevich’s iconic ‘Black Square’, and the intensity of Rothko’s unbroken colours. Oh’s paintings possess a spiritual depth and their titles simultaneously reflect this and the real terrain.

Employing several techniques unique to the artist, the images are seemingly photographic. The contrast between the white folds and dense black creases present positive and negative linear spaces that, at times, portray photo realistic layers of rock, sediment and strata. Within the monochrome palette, a range of hues and tones recall the luminosity of silver gelatin photographs.

The Serene Path’ chronicles Oh’s deep respect for Nature, in particular, geology and the passing of Time. His paintings pay homage to this and show his appreciation and great understanding of the enduring act of creation.

About Oh Chai Hoo

Oh Chai Hoo was born in 1960, Singapore and lives and works in Singapore. His paintings have been placed in prominent corporate and private collections throughout Asia. Recently, his work was exhibited in Chinese Contemporary Ink at Christie’s, Hong Kong (2017).

Selected solo and group exhibition include: 2015, These Sacred thing – Jandela (Visual Art Space), Esplanade, Singapore; 2014, Tropical Zen Garden, Esplanade, Singapore, 2013, Singapore Sculpture Society, Woodcarving Symposium, Singapore