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Beyond Simplicity
by Mulan Gallery
Location: Mulan Gallery
Artist(s): Simon WEE
Date: 8 Apr - 22 Apr 2009

The palette is limited but produces dramatic effects. Drenched in saturated red, black with hints of white and gold, the canvases however are easily recogonisable as Simon Wee’s creations. The artist known for his minimalist, calligraphic strokes impresses with larger, bolder creations that also bear the mark of his brushwork and careful composition. The exhibition titled ‘Beyond Simplicity’ will offer a selection of these creations as well as some of his signature older works.

Simon Wee received his first art lessons from renowned first generation artist Chen Wen Hsi and he also studied at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. His paintings have been exhibited for a comparatively short period of over ten years but he has had numerous shows in Singapore as well as in parts of Asia including Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Seoul. Now in his 60’s, Simon Wee is a respected name within the sphere of Singaporean art. As any regular within the Singapore Art scene would know, it is virtually impossible to miss his distinctive work that is often composed of simple, flowing intuitive brush strokes that bear the mark of the measured yet fluid execution seen in traditional Chinese ink painting. As such the works feature balanced compositions, elegance and reflective depth, that lend an inimitable touch to the artist’s works.

In comparison to these, the new works of Simon, that I first encountered almost a year ago, appear to be a total contrast. The simple strokes had made way to striking, extravagant washes of red and black in broad sweeping gestures. His new abstracts have a compelling presence, unlike the somber quality of his early works. Yet the particular aspects of the gestural marks used in these, the graceful strokes added in gold or white on the textured surfaces and the strong composition suggest that these works are evolutions of the same artist’s journey. The expressive colours in these new works too seem to strengthen the effect of his signature brushstrokes. The artistic flair of Simon Wee continues to impress.

Usha Nathan, SAGG

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