Dr. Ho Chee Lick’s Arboreal Dreams
11 to 30 December 2023
Departing in his teens for a China on the eve of tumult and returning to Singapore via the United States only at the age of 40, Ho Chee Lick’s paintings of tropical trees marked a homecoming not only of himself, but also of his practice. In 2003-2005, about 15 years after his return, Ho moved from idyllic rediscoveries of Singaporean scenes towards the tropical trees he saw on his daily journeys, producing an inspired series of arboreal paintings that are raw and direct in application yet also lyrical and dreamlike.
Instead of being a subject for naturalistic study or a component of a picturesque landscape, Ho’s trees are emblems of the soil and land they are rooted in, metaphors for his own uprooted and re-rooted life. Through the resolution of formalistic difficulties in depicting local trees (which are distinct from the architectural quality of German firs and the writhing forcefulness of northern Chinese pines), Ho comes to terms not only with the particularities of Singapore’s trees and his own life trajectory, like fallen leaves gathering at the roots.
Ho Chee Lick (b.1950) received his art education from Chen Wen Hsi and Chen Chong Swee while still a student at the Chinese High School. A prodigious painter, his early works were technically remarkable exercises in contemporary modernist styles, enthusiastically received by his mentors and peers. Ho left for China in 1967, aged 17, and returned 23 years later with a heightened sensitivity to the act and process of painting. In 2003-2005, after a period rediscovering Singapore as a subject through Pulau Ubin, Ho began on a series of expressive trees that prefigured later experimentations with paint application techniques. Though also proficient in ink and oils, Ho’s oeuvre is distinguished by his crayon and graphite sketches, which reveals an artist with a deep humanistic eye, preferring to sacrifice an emphasis on form to capture the beauty of mundanity and everyday life.
Exhibition period: 11 – 30 December 2023
Mon to Sat: 11 am to 6pm, Sun: Closed
Exhibition venue: Supermama Flagship store @Henderson, #01-01, 213 Henderson Rd, S(159553)