Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lim Ah Cheng: A Malaysian Equestrian Artist

Last week I stumbled across an article from the Malaysian newspaper The Star about the opening of the Motour (Ministry of Tourism) art gallery in Putrajaya, Malaysia last month. Among the exhibits at the opening was one from the Malaysian artist Lim Ah Cheng. Lim has become a famous artist both at home and abroad, and he has become famous for one art genre in particular: Equestrian art.

Lim's paintings are a place where West meets East. A place where the frenetic Fauvist colors of Henri Matisse meets the wild, galloping ink horses of Xu Beihong and dissolve into a fluidic realm of the imagination.

Lim Ah Cheng has painted horses for well over one and half decades. Many of his paintings have been displayed in exhibitions and galleries around the world. His works are well-known in Malaysia (and next door in Singapore as well), where he has been awarded a number of Malaysian National Art Awards.

In his paintings, Lim combines Western acrylic and oil with traditional Chinese ink brush painting styles. He has been such an avid painter of horses because, in his words, the horse is "poetry in motion when it gallops". He has captured the essence of this horse in his paintings with swift brushstrokes, multi-colored hues that complement the emotions of the horse, and his own abstract "fluid" style that emphasizes the gracefulness and sheer energy of the horse.

Among Lim's many horse paintings are his "Ancient Horses" series from 2004 and his current series, "Metamorphosis", which he began in 2008. "Ancient Horses" is a combination of Eastern and Western Art. In this series, Lim combines horses and calligraphy from traditional Chinese brush paintings with Western abstractism. As a result, we see a highly dynamic painting that contains the best elements of both sides of the globe. In "Metamorphosis" (which is still not finished at the time of this writing), Lim has been more introspective and includes objects from our modern everyday world in the paintings. Some of the paintings in this series feature paper airplanes flying alongside the horses, which, according to the OdeToArt gallery website, were important to Lim in his childhood and are symbolic of dreams and aspirations, which are often written inside and cast to the wind.

Lim Ah Cheng is an artist who has not only become an acclaimed equestrian painter, but also an artist who has successfully merged Eastern and Western styles of painting vis a vis the main subject of his paintings: the horse!

For more about Lim Ah Cheng and his artwork, be sure to have a look at the links below:
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/7/11/central/14755089&sec=central (Another article from The Star about Lim Ah Cheng, his life and influences, and his "Ancient Horses" series.)
http://www.artmajeur.com/limahcheng/ (Lim Ah Cheng's Artmajeur page. Includes "Ancient Horses" plus some other equestrian paintings.)
http://www.momentousarts.com/artists.html (A selection of Lim's artwork on display at the Momentous Art Gallery in Singapore.)
http://www.lalunagallery.com/artist_lac.php# (Some more of Lim's paintings from the Laluna Gallery, and a short bio.)


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