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KOEH Sia Yong 许锡勇 (南洋风格 新加坡 第二代重要画家)
Born in 1938 and graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Art. Since then he has undertaken his exploration in the art world for over fifty years. Known for his unique artistic style and excellent painting techniques, today he is one of the outstanding and highly collected artists in Singapore. In the 70s, Koeh was an art editor working for children Art Magazine, a part of the Xinzhou Newspaper's weekend issue. During the 80s, as a specially appointed graphic artist of Nanyang Business Newspaper, he produced a large number of political cartoons, magazine covers and illustrations. In addition, he was also engaged in exhibitions and events. He had successfully held many solo and group exhibitions and published two catalogues "Koeh Sia Yong Cartoons" and "Koeh Sia Yong's Paintings".
Koeh's oil paintings are diverse in subject matters. The realistic and expressive approaches are two major characteristics of his work. Many of his figure paintings describe the indigenous conditions and customs of Bali Island, Indonesia. His brushes capture the wavy figures of Bali women. Rich and intensive colors presented the touching scene of Bali ladies' singing and dancing as well as their traditional costumes and hair decorations. Koeh's landscape paintings usually depict scenes of the Singapore River, old streets, temples and volcanoes etc. Through the bold and unrestrained brush strokes, the artist not only represented objects realistically, but also expressed his inner feelings as well.
Koeh has mastered good techniques in the application of color and light. Contrasting colors such as yellow and purple, red and green, blue and orange, appeared often in his works. By employing complementary colors to coincide with these bright colors, the artist created a vibrant, gorgeous and yet refined visual effect in his oil paintings. During the creation process, Koeh always spends time in observing and producing the subtle changes of color tones, light and shades. And through his thorough study, his finishing touches help bring the works to life. For example, in one of his works, the artist applied a slight tone of red on the black surfaces, which perfectly pictured the Indonesian young girl's dark brown skin under the sunlight.
In Koeh's landscape painting, various treatments can be observed. He likes to use bold, heavy and dark outlines to depict Singapore old street scenes while using thinner, lighter and more vivid colors to reflect the spirit of modern Singapore.
In conclusion, Koeh's paintings enable viewers to experience the rich cultural scenes of South East Asia and its people, the sunny weather, blue sky and flourishing tropical forest etc. Currently, Koeh is still pursuing his unique individual style in order to capture his passion for life and nature.
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