Featuring over 15 representative oil and mixed media works by revered pioneer artist Cheong Soo Pieng, this exhibition reflects on his rich, evolving journey in the abstract realm between the 1960s and 1970s. After becoming a full-time artist in 1961, Soo Pieng went on a life-changing sojourn in Europe from 1961 to 1963. His oeuvre from the 1960s onward consequently took on a broad range of themes and expressions, resulting in several distinct and stylised abstract series.
Soo Pieng (1917 – 1983) was born in Xiamen, China. He studied at Xiamen Academy of Fine Arts and furthered his education at Xinhua Academy of Fine Arts in Shanghai. After the 2nd World War, he relocated to Singapore in 1946 to take on a teaching post at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and began his fervent amalgamation of Western and Chinese pictorial styles. Often drawing inspiration from themes and subject matters relating to his new, immediate environment in Southeast Asia, the landmark trip to Bali in 1952 inspired Soo Pieng (and three other pioneer artists Chen Wen Hsi, Chen Chong Swee, Liu Kang) to reinvent groundbreaking pictorial modes culminating to the Nanyang art style. This has been celebrated as a ‘watershed’ moment in the development of Singapore modern art scene.
Nature, 1964, Oil on canvas, 81.5 x 100 cm