Chuah Siew Teng, since young, has been imbued with the artistic environment created in the family setting by his famous father; Chuah Thean Teng, ”Father Of Batik Painting & Doyen Of The Arts”. His artistic tendencies have been evident since boyhood and the impetus has always been the “Batik Spirit” provided at home. His teenage years have been spent in England, U.K. He studied art at Ravensbourne College of Art and Design (1965-1966) and City & Build Art School, London, England (1966-1969). It was the British cultural backdrop that set his academic and aesthetic art foundation. His art pieces be they human or animal subject and / or scenery exude the creative impulse and profound philosophy of his thoughts.
His early art pieces were bold and rash, depicting strong linear structures arranged with the intention of projecting abstract and subliminal suggestions. “The Matinal Song”, ‘The Woods”, “Untitle”, “Montage” to name a few, essay the essence of colours, rhythm and beauty, always searching for the soul of form, yearning for the love of life, that is the central theme of his artistic pursuit. His batik artwork has matured since then and now scintillating in the art circles nationally and internationally. The subject matter covered is multi- faceted and exciting, soliciting the assistance of light/ shadows contrast, emanating a vital force to surface the double visual effects as illustrated in “Morning Market”, “The Matinal Song”, “By The Roadside”, “The Procession Of The Joss”. Even though the art titles sound native in their subject matter, the resultant effect on canvas by the artist never fail to impact on the visual senses.
The oil pieces exude a sublime and exquisite sense of beauty and serenity. When depicting human forms, be they essaying the Malay maiden or Indian women, the artist reflects his inner feeling onto the canvas with masterly admixture of colours and styles. Siew Teng’s artistic perspicuity dissects the situation, and then demonstrates his dynamic force of artistic analysis to perfection on the canvas medium. The bustling bazaar, the blind alleys, the daily routine are all captured on canvas to please the visual sense of the beholder. With 40 over years of artistic experience, his style underscores a master of wisdom, beauty, benign purity, pregnant with dreams searching for soul. According to him, pure art encapsulates two basic factors, are contrasting and complementary, Viz Yin and Yang: the false & the true, current & archaic, love & hate, the beautiful & the ugly,myth & fact, the romantic & the utilitarian, business acumen & philosophical abandonment, the conscious and the subconscious, etc. Artist should not only be wise, they must possess the correct attitude towards life. In this vast universe, artists should be cognizant of which to expunge, to select, to assemble. It is only after fine thought processes to create true and fine art forms, synthesizing new subject matter, projecting a novel spirit, that finally the artist grasps the final meaning of “Ars Gratia Artist” in seeking perfection in his role.
The vision and mission of Chuah Siew Teng exude the in buildrichness of his experience that is mirrored in his artistic essays. His art pieces explain his imaginative and creative prowess, of which his experience provides the conditions for its presence. He dares to test his artistic courage by putting his inner feelings on the canvas medium. Armed with this emboldened vision, he exhibits the overwhelming spirit of Art, abundant with considerations of artistic beauty and applications.
Text: Rendered by Pro. Dr. Chuah Chong Cheng in English from Chinese