Lot 039

b. Terengganu, 1938


Signed and dated 'tengbengchew85' (lower left)
Handmade paper
74cm x 59cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur.

ESTIMATE  RM 7,000 - 10,000

A revered artist, academician and art educator, Chew Teng Beng is a brilliant colourist who has shown finesse in various media – paintings, sculptures, printmaking, batik, and handmade paper. This work typifies his Siew Siew body of works which were shown twice at GaleriCitra, Kuala Lumpur - first in 1987 and later in 1990. It combines Chew’s métier for colour alchemy and his flair for landscapes, both abstract and realism. This abstract masterpiece suggests a sunset view of an idyllic seascape executed in multi-layered handmade paper that forms rows of cloud shadows casting over the blue sea with tinges of yellow sunlight reflecting the silhouette of an orange hill top in the background. The work with fuzzy bands in tiers reminiscent of the meditative reveries of Mark Rothko and a little of Richard Diebenkorn evokes a sense of joy and ecstasy, with the feminine pink hues a tribute to his daughter,
for whom the series is titled.

One of the artist’s most important creations, the use of paper in his art has also played an integral part in his foray in the academia. He is recognised for his extensive research in the production of pulp and paper from agricultural residues. His first research grant in this topic of interest was awarded by Universiti Sains Malaysia in 1978. Among his comprehensive study in this field include writings on Utilisation of the Indigenous Plant Fibres for Making Pulp and Paper, Papermaking in ASEAN Region, and Papermaking in Malaysia: From Its Aboriginal Practice to Paper Art.

When young, Chew Teng Beng was awarded the prestigious Frank Sullivan Prize as the Most Outstanding Artist in 1964, and held his first solo at Sullivan’s Samat Art Gallery in 1967. From 1968 to 1972, he held solo exhibitions at various venues in the United States. Teng Beng excels not only as an artist and researcher on aesthetics but also as an academician, devising the curriculum for the Siena Heights College in Michigan in the United States, and that of the Universiti Sains Malaysia in 1972, on his return from studies and teaching in the United States. His academic credentials are impressive: PhD, New York University (1983-86); MFA and BFA, University of Michigan, USA (1967-70); and Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan (Fulbright-Hays scholarship, 1967-68), where he won the Paul Neal Averill Prize in a juried exhibition of Michigan paintings. In 1993, he was selected for the first Asia-Pacific Triennial in Brisbane, Australia. He was honoured with a retrospective by the Penang State Art Gallery in 1998. His other awards included the British Council visitorship (1975), the Australian Government Culture Award (1998)

Dr. Chew Teng Beng: A Retrospective 45 Years of Selected Works, Penang State Art Gallery, 1998.