PHEH IT HAO
b. Penang, 1972
FIRENZE, ITALY, 2007
Titled, signed and dated 'FIRENZE ITALY HAO 07' lower right
Mixed media on paper
74cm x 55.4cm
Private collection, Penang; acquired directly from the artist.
ESTIMATE RM 3,500 - 5,500
PRICE REALISED RM 4,180
Florence, or Firenze as the Italians call it, is truly a Renaissance city incarnated. After returning from his studies in England, Pheh It Hao returned to Europe to places he missed for his Window Journey series and Firenze was the last in this itinerary. The one-month Italian ‘odyssey’ also included Venice and Pisa. As befitting his penchant for positive-negative space, It Hao chooses to take up his story during sundown with fading light. An antique lamp reminiscent of the gas-lamps of old is perched on an ironwork and is silhouetted between the walls of two tall buildings, like a solitary sentinel. It certainly provides some warmth as the cold night air bites.
It Hao has been based in Australia since 2010 and made a comeback exhibition titled Boundary in 2011. He is known for his bold use of white spaces with sepia-hued forms and blotchy wet-on-wet effects. He graduated with a BFA at Surrey Institute of Art and Design, University College in 1991. On his return, he joined the Elle Six Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur as a curator from 1991 to 1994 before deciding to go fulltime into art. In 2006, he won the 3rd Prize in the Putrajaya National Watercolour Exhibition. He has had solo exhibitions at Alpha Utara Gallery, Penang in 2007 and Nelson Hays Gallery, Bangkok in 2008 while participating in numerous group exhibitions in Malaysia, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and the United Kingdom.
The Unseen: Pheh It Hao, Edward Ong, Pelita Hati Gallery of Art, Kuala Lumpur, 2008.