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Lines of Poetry 化线为诗
By: Tan Ping Chiang
17 January 2015 - 28 Febuary 2015 (Reception: 16 January 2015)
As an influential educator, Tan Ping Chiang is well-known, particularly in his previous capacities as graphic design lecturer and has headed both the Applied Arts Department (1981–1992) and the Fine Arts Department (1987–1991) at NAFA, and as the founding president of the Contemporary Printmaking Association (now Printmaking Society) of Singapore. Following his retirement from teaching, Tan has returned to creating and art-making with a thirsty vigour, surging intrepidly forward with works that offer autumnal reflections on nature, self and society, breathing new life into Singapore art.
His recent works display a continued willingness to experiment with form and style, documenting a keen rigour in the artist’s renewed pursuit of a personal visual language. His rhythmic lines and subtle colours form a harmonious paean to and reflection of the elegiac cadences of life and nature, but do not shy away from lending a whimsical eye when needed as well, with often sharp and humorous observations of human behaviour, art and society.
Strongly tethered to the social, these works often feature individuals that meld and merge into the group or crowd in bold, “drunken” visions. The bustle of familiar everyday scenes feature prominently in these works, peppered intermittently by meditational works where nature, paradigmatic truth and beauty without equal, unabashedly holds court. These semi-abstract compositions resolutely cast aside all fetters and coils to achieve a pure harmonious resolution and freedom, returning the viewer to a gleeful state of visual innocence and wonder as they guide our eyes back to the canvas again and again.
Tan Ping Chiang (陈彬章, b. 1940, Singapore) is an esteemed Singapore artist and educator with an art and design career spanning the early 1960s to the present. A member of the Modern Art Society in the 60s, Tan has been cited as a pioneer artist who had helped foment formalist experimentation in Singapore art. Notable exhibitions include the 1964 International Youth Art Exhibition in Shinjuku, Japan and the 1969 Salon d'Automne art exhibition in Paris, France, as well as Solid, Soft, Dynamic: Three-Man Exhibition at the National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore in 1990. His work can be found in major public and private collections globally, including the National Museum Art Gallery of Singapore and the National Museum of Malaysia.
Aside from painting, Tan is also known for his sculptural work and writing. His public works include three major sculptures titled "Cultural Development of Singapore" located within the city’s Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. In addition, he is also the author of a series of travel journals offering visual tours of everyday life in Asian cities and their culture using vibrant watercolour sketches, as well as a book of Mandarin collected essays titled <<紅尘留痕>> (2006) published under his pen name 陈大彬.
A graduate of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Tan received a Master’s (Honours) in Food Packaging Design from the University of Western Sydney, Australia in 1998.