b. Penang, 1941 - d. Pahang, 2001
STUDY II, 1989
Signed and dated 'JOSEPH TAN 89' lower left
Gouache and watercolour on rice paper mounted on board
16cm x 14.5cm
Private collection, Singapore;
acquired through Galeri Citra, Kuala Lumpur.
ESTIMATE RM 1,500 - 3,000
PRICE REALISED RM 3,300
Joseph Tan creates illusion of space from multiple layers of textures and surface patterns in a spiritual collaboration and homage to Nature. He harnessed various techniques and tools to achieve shimmering effects of the tension and gloss of the picture plane, playing on wide nuances of green with doses of cadmium yellow and transparent blue. A perfectionist, he worked slowly and painstakingly and most certainly, unhurriedly, for he would not sign his work if he was not satisfied with it. Commenting on Joseph’s work, critic-artist Anurendra Jegadeva wrote in The Sunday Star, on 12 March 2006: “At times, they seem like abstract allusions to his spiritual voyage into an existentialist void, an eternity of nothingness.”
Academician, administrator, activist, artist - Joseph was trained in Australia, first at East Sydney Technical College from 1963 to 1965 and then University of Sydney (Faculty of Architecture) in 1962. He taught Art at Granville Boy High School in New South Wales in 1967. His first solo exhibition was at Samat Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur in 1968. He pursued his Masters of Fine Art at the School of Institute of Chicago from 1970 to 1972 under the Fulbright-Hayes Scholarship. In addition, he has taught at the Mara Institute of Technology at its Petaling Garden campus, then Shah Alam and Dungun and back to Shah Alam, retiring as a senior lecturer in November 1992. In his career, he has also served as Acting Director of the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur from 1974 to 1975. From 1992 to 1995, he was the General Manager of the Nanyang Gallery of Art. A significant contributor to the art scene, he was also Director of the Institute of Art and Design, Land and General Company from 1996 to 1998 and a member of the board of trustees of the National Art Gallery between 1976 and 2001. He was given a posthumous retrospective by the National Art Gallery in 2006 titled Joseph Tan - His Art (1961-2001).