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Tree Spirit: Visions of the Arboreal by Lim Tze Peng

Tree Spirit/森灵: Visions of the Arboreal by Lim Tze Peng

11 March to 19 March 2023


Not Gallery is pleased to present Tree Spirit / 森灵: Visions of the Arboreal by Lim Tze Peng, an exhibition of Cultural Medallion-winning artist Lim Tze Peng’s dynamic Chinese ink paintings, inspired by the primal majesty of the banyan tree.

This acclaimed centenarian artist is best known for his street scenes of old-world Singapore and abstracted calligraphic masterpieces, called muddled calligraphy or hutuzi. Tree Spirit / 森灵 veers off the beaten path to present a lesser-shown, though no less important, body of work of his that were created between 2006 and 2008.  

Large in scale and unrestrained in brushwork, this series of paintings marks how the artist embraces serendipity and new creative processes, to produce formidable gestural impressions of the arboreal. Lim’s sweeping, tangled brushstrokes and torrential drips and splatters result in intense mindscapes that reflect a primordial wilderness emanating with power. As the artist muses, “You could say that my trees are visual poems of chaos.” 

The Tree Spirit / 森灵 paintings are also notable for how they reveal a crucial turning point in the artist’s practice. It is in these works when he started to experiment with contemporary strategies such as cropping, collaborating with chance, and tilting the picture plane. They mark the moment in Lim’s practice in which he begun to bridge Chinese painting traditions with artistic strategies often regarded as Western in outlook.

These modern strategies, along with the energetic lyricism of his brushwork, result in paintings that not only capture the spirit of the forest, but also the experimental and contemporary spirit of this esteemed local artist.

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Exhibition period: 11 March – 19 March 2023, 12 nn to 7 pm daily

Exhibition venue: Gallery II, The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Ln, Singapore 179429

Not gallery
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