Modern and Contemporary Malaysian Art Auction Preview @ The Edge Galerie

Riding the auction bandwagon is business newspaper The Edge, where a small selection of 33 Malaysian works (with the exception of a Chen Wen Hsi) go under the hammer.  Figurative portraits form the majority, including 2 lots of dancing Balinese girls - a colourful and joyful rendition by Tay Mo Leong, and Ahmad Zakii Anwar's realist illustrations garbed in sumptuous gold, against a black background.  Khoo Sui Hoe's 'Figure with a Bird' stands out in its classical beauty, where simple lines accentuate a verticality that contrasts with the parallel diagonals of a flying bird and a right arm, which draws attention to the figure's impartial face.

Khoo Sui Hoe - Figure with a Bird (1967)

Penang hyper realists Cheah Ewe Hoon and Yeong Seak Ling project their respective composition skills onto empirical observations.  'The Woodpecker' by the former depicts a close-up forest scene with leaves strategically lighted, not too bright or dark to identify the creature, as if through the eyes of a birdwatcher.  One does not get tired looking at the exquisite details in the latter's "Kampung Life" series, from sarong to wood grain to the distant palm trees, Seak Ling's virtuoso execution leaves me speechless at times.  More goodness from the north can be admired in Tan Choon Ghee's oil painting, an impressionist rendition that features turquoise shadows and dark olive tree trunks.  

Cheah Ewe Hoon - The Woodpecker (1998)

Peter Liew's impasto for a similar theme provides an interesting contrast, where thick brush strokes and strong colours create an impression even more fleeting than Choon Ghee's.  'The Plough', a distant night landscape by Jolly Koh, presents a beautiful and serene calm amongst its abstraction.  Kok Yew Puah's 'Camera View of Two Tourists in A Malaysian Town' is a clever take on the concept of tourist, a contemporary approach more delightful than Samsudin Wahab's morbid commentary on a murder case.  Quality over quantity in an auction catalogue is not that much to ask for, and The Edge delivers in this aspect, albeit the relatively few works on offer.

Kok Yew Puah - Camera View of Two Tourists in A Malaysian Town (1995)