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Ong Kim Seng: The Poetry
of Fleeting Light

16.07 // 31.07. 2022

Telok Ayer Street Taoist Temple

Telok Ayer Street Taoist Temple, 2021, Watercolour on paper, 36 x 54 cm

artcommune gallery proudly presents Ong Kim Seng’s latest solo exhibition, which features 20 half-sheet watercolours (approx. 36 x 54 cm in size) of local and foreign landscapes completed en plein air by the artist between 2018 and 2022. A celebrated maestro of light and shade, Ong Kim Seng (b. 1945, Singapore), BBM. A.W.S. DF. N.W.S is amongst the most acclaimed watercolour artists in Asia. He rose to international prominence in the 1980s, and has continued to be one of Singapore’s most important and successful artists.


Plein-air painting has been integral to Ong Kim Seng’s practice in as early as the 1960s, when as a youth he began participating in outdoor painting with the Sunday Group. Led by pioneer watercolourist Lim Cheng Hoe, the Sunday Group comprised an informal gathering of professional and amateur artists who embarked on outdoor painting at selected local landmarks almost every Sunday. Ong Kim Seng’s early experimentation with the watercolour medium was distinctly shaped by these outdoor experiences with the Sunday Group. Over the decades, even as he continued to develop new techniques and strategies in expressing landscapes, plein-air painting has remained one of his essential modes of engagement with the watercolour medium.

Lorong 34 Geylang.jpg

Lorong 34 Geylang, 2021, Watercolour on paper, 36 x 54 cm

In the artist’s own words: “When painting on site, things change with the passage of time. One is affected by the shift in light and shadow, as well as other changes in the environment. Interacting with all these factors on site allows an actual experience of the atmosphere, which is crucial to developing a lively and engaging painting.”


With this exhibition, we hope to provide a short survey of the artist’s plein-air approach and bring the audience closer to another important aspect of Ong Kim Seng’s decades-long watercolour practice. Ong Kim Seng: The Poetry of Fleeting Light will be officially opened by Guest-of-Honour, Mr. Ong Ye Kung (Minister for Health) on 16 July 2022, Saturday, 4 - 6pm. Admission is free and open to all!

Official Opening

Date: 16 July, Saturday, 4pm - 6pm

Guest-of-Honour: Mr. Ong Ye Kung (Minister for Health)


Exhibition Period

Date: 16 - 31 July 2022

Time: 12pm - 7pm daily

Venue: artcommune gallery

Artworks Selection

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