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IMPRESSIONS (墨韵) by Lim Tze Peng Exhibition (Ode To Art)

I had the privilege to meet a local renowned artist Lim Tze Peng who celebrated his 95th birthday with IMPRESSIONS (墨韵)! It was a grand showcase of his 95 masterpieces at Ode To Art gallery located at Raffles City Shopping Center, #01-36 E/F . Being a cultural medallion awardee, Lim began practising calligraphy since young and achieved a stylistic breakthrough of abstract calligraphy once he had a strong foundation of it.
I don’t count myself as an art lover to begin with. To appreciate art, it is said that it takes time to cultivate, not a sudden overnight thing. For me, I am still starting to appreciate art since art is a medium to showcase one’s emotion as well as individuality. I could see a consistency in Lim’s style across all of his paintings. 

Lim rose to fame for his Chinese ink artworks of Chinatown and the Singapore River in the early 1980s. Since I am a 1990s’ baby, his works helped me to visualise the urban landmarks, developments and scenes during that era. I appreciate such form of retrospect which I would never have a chance to witness and experience.
Since I am a foodie, I am particularly attracted to paintings that usually showcase the bustling marketplace, food streets or even stalls. Take the ‘Duck Rice Stall’ below for example. A simple scene with shophouses in the backdrop that once existed from the past and lost in the present. It portrays a simple makeshift-looking stall with patchwork shelters and people whose livelihood depended on it. As I looked closer, I see minimal outline of stocks and utensils needed to run the stall. The image lured me closer to observe each little details, yet the dull historic tones acts like a barrier, reminding me that it was all in the past. From a kampong village to a first-world country.

Duck Rice Stall (Ink on Paper)
144 x 179cm 
My Neighbourhood (Ink on Paper)
142 x 179 cm
Morning Markets (Ink on Paper)
 200 x 228 cm

Abstract Calligraphy
 ”When I write, impressions of paintings form in my mind” – Lim Tze Peng
People might be stunned by some of his painting styles which has multiple Chinese characters seen overlapping each other. Lim prefer to emphasise on the expressiveness and elegance of strokes rather than the meanings of these characters. It is his stylistic breakthrough of abstract calligraphy which I myself heard for the first time, also known as 糊塗字.
I start to imagine myself looking at a painting instead of Chinese characters. Art has no right or wrong to me, just how each of us interpret each painting individually. My first image that materialized was a plantation. It might be due to greenish brown background. I see crops semi harvested, some left to decay as they were left alone. Towards the right middle of the painting, I must have spotted a house…
How about you? 
Abstract Calligraphy 2
Fishermen Along the Seashore (Ink on Paper)
100 x 105 cm
I was staring at one of the largest and most eye catching painting in the gallery. The light brownish tones produced the same historic feeling that was felt across most of his paintings. The feeling of wanting to be there, strolling across the same river which our forefathers had once walked through. That feeling was surreal.  
Feel free to visit IMPRESSIONS (墨韵) by Lim Tze Peng Exhibition. It would be great to view some historical moments as well as modern calligraphy.
Date: 13 Oct – 30 Nov 2015
Time: 11am – 9pm (Sun – Thur) ; 12 noon – 10pm (Fri – Sat)
Venue: Ode to Art Raffles City Gallery
Free Entry  

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