b. Kedah, 1947
Signed and dated 'Eng Tay 92' lower left
Oil on canvas
60cm x 75cm
Private collection, Penang.
ESTIMATE RM 15,000 - 25,000
PRICE REALISED RM 29,700
Eng Tay’s works revolve around the theme of relationships – between husband and wife, mother and child, brothers and sisters; and even in Post-911, communal togetherness as in his Columbus Park (New York) paintings. These endearing subject matters – whether executed in etchings, paintings or sculptures – are played out in exaggerated shapes, whimsical features, simple costumes and changing backdrops in soothing, melancholic colours. Much travelled and his heart drawn towards mostly traditional communities, Eng Tay harps on the essential things that define us, despite having lived away from home in New York for 44 years. He seems to be telling us through every pore of pigment in his painting that love indeed is what makes the world go round. A red flower as a token of love, fruits in abundance celebrating the good life, and most of all, the precious moments of togetherness are all symbols of affection in Eng Tay’s works.
The world of innocence and old-world charm stays in the art of Eng Tay, whose full name is Tay Eng Chye, despite his sophistication developed through travels and being based in the Big Apple. After secondary education in Alor Setar, he took a bold gamble and headed for New York City to study art at the Art Students League (1969-1972) and then the Pratt Graphics Centre (1972-1977). He started having solo exhibitions in the United States of his prints, paintings and sculptures before etching his name back in Malaysia and to the rest of Asia. He had a retrospective when Galeri Petronas hosted him in the blockbuster exhibition Eng Tay: The Exhibition in 2009.
Eng Tay: The Exhibition, Ooi Kok Chuen, Galeri Petronas, Kuala Lumpur, 2009.