SELECTED WORKS: 1996 – 2019 BY KHOO SUI HOE
6 - 20 AUGUST 2022
Khoo Sui Hoe has the touch of Modern primitivism; ethnic; ethereal; dream-like; escapism; expressionist, universal through the provincial; haunting; idyllic; mysterious; enchanting; wistful; surrealistic; vaguely Gauguinesque; a poet in paint; having a universal quality rare in twentieth-century art -these are words various writers have used to describe Sui Hoe or his works. They may give us an idea of Sui Hoe’s art but do feast your eyes on his works, spanning over two decades presented to you by G13 Gallery.
Sui Hoe has the uncanny ability to extract the essence of things, be they tree, river, rock, mountain, cloud or the human form. This is epitomised in his painted self-portraits. Anyone who knows Sui Hoe will immediately be struck by the resemblance, not only of his physical appearance but also of the essence of his being and his humour. Sui Hoe is also a master colourist, using the entire spectrum of colour with variations of tints, shades and tones, creating an unlimited variety of moods and expressions.
Sui Hoe often draws inspiration from his childhood experiences. The times he dipped in the river with cool flowing water under a blue sky with white clouds, surrounded by floating plants, reeds and rushes, plants in blossom, birds and the distant hills. Perhaps, we can appreciate Sui Hoe’s art with a similar mindset, like that of a boy in a fantasy world of his own, where elements of his surroundings would be accentuated and be the focus of his attention. Sui Hoe’s art invites us into his fantasy world, a realm in which many of us would feel comfortable in or even long for. Sui Hoe also often deploys one of his favorite devices in his paintings – curtains. He uses curtains to suggest the existence of windows, subtly drawing the viewers into his painted world.
In a glowing article, Ten Years – An appreciation of Sui Hoe’s works in 1974, Austin Coates, a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, London, commented that “The domain of Khoo Sui Hoe’s art lies amid some of mankind’s innermost urges or desires – the urge to rise up into the sky, and go on rising forever, the urge not to just fly with the wind, but actually become the wind, the urge of man and woman to float on air as one being, the urge to enfold another person entirely within oneself, the urge to be a mind unencumbered by a body. These urges being universal, and the artist having evolved a discipline and a convention of his own, enabling him to give them valid expression, his pictures have a universal quality, rare in 20th century art. They speak a universal language.”
In his recent works, the colours are more vibrant and the forms are more childlike. Picasso famously said, “It took me four years to paint like Rafael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” I think that is also true of Sui Hoe. Notwithstanding the changes in form and palette, we see him retaining the motifs we are familiar with. Each painting is closely linked to each other in such a way that, although they exist as unique entities in their own right, they also form part of a cohesive group, rather similar to separate movements in a symphony.
Selected Works: 1996 – 2019 by Khoo Sui Hoe will certainly be an enriching experience.
The exhibition will run from 6 – 20th August 2022.
- Khoo Sui Hoe