Notion of void and solid in Chua Ek Kay's Chinese ink paintings

Lim, Yan Ling Jase (2012) Notion of void and solid in Chua Ek Kay's Chinese ink paintings. Masters thesis, LASALLE College of the Arts.

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Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Notion of void and solid in Chua Ek Kay's Chinese ink paintings

Void and solid is a concept found in the paintings of Singapore Chinese ink painter Chum Ek Kay and often quoted in his conversation as xu and shi. Void and solid is often explained in association with the Taoist doctrines of yin and yang which has multiple implications that depend on the field it is being applied. In this writing, it refers to the interaction between ink (solid) and space (void).
This study shall attempt to investigate the visual language in Chua Ek Kay’s paintings, to render visible what is invisible in his art. Besides painting and calligraphy, Chua was also proficient in composing Chinese poems that enunciated his thoughts and sentiments. Through the exploration of his visual languages, poems, inscriptions and statements from interviews, this study attempts to detect the elements of emotive or experiential feelings during his immersive studies with his subject matters. These elements are invisible in the paintings and have to be detected intuitively. This study strives to develop an ‘eye’ in observation for Chua’s paintings; to be able to read the nuances of things by seeing beyond surfaces and obvious appearances. What appears as lines, dashes or dots in his paintings may be embedded with in depth connotation waiting to be excavated.
The supporting structure in reading Chua’s paintings shall be based on the concept of Chinese philosophy. Space, change and simplicity which come under the umbrella term of void and solid, may be applied for reading Chua’s other paintings. In this writing, these concepts shall be studied individually with selected paintings from the Singapore Street Scenes series, the Lotus Pond series and Song of Cicada. Some of Chua’s paintings from the Street Scenes series deal with his life experiences and interactions with space reflecting his nostalgic sentiment and experiential feelings. The Lotus Pond series encompasses growth, bloom, withering, reflect that change is not linear but in cycle. Song of Cicada, a painting executed with just six petals of autumn leaves within a vast expanse of void, connotes the notion of simplicity in Chan Buddhism.
Motivated by the belief that the more one knows about a painting, the more one will appreciate it, this study attempts to read Chua’s inner messages or the invisibles encoded within his paintings with the ultimate aim to provide a linkage between the viewers and Chua’s artistic realm.

Subjects: Fine Arts > Singapore Artists
Divisions: Faculty of Fine Arts > Master - Asian Art Histories
Depositing User: Ms Ashalatha Krishnan
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2013 08:20
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2013 08:20

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