Liu Kang - Artist and Model ( oil on canvas )
About the Artwork :
In Artist and Model which shows Chen Wen Hsi sketching a Balinese woman, Liu Kang's dark outlines have become white - an innovation which could have been inspired by batik painting. Painted in 1954, this work may be based on a sketch made during the artists' field trip to Bali two years earlier. Chen is seated, working on a sketching board propped on another rattan chair. This rhythmic repetition of chairs, further echoed by the number and arrangement of tea pot and cups on the round table makes the entire painting delightfully casual and whimsical.
Background Info of Liu Kang :
Liu Kang was a Singaporean artist famous for his Balinese-themed figurative paintings. He was a founding member of the Singapore Art Society, and was credited with developing the Nanyang style.
He was born in Fujian Province and he spent his early years in Malaysia, studied art in Shanghai and Paris, and taught art in Shanghai during the 1930s. Under the influence of Chinese artist and art teacher Liu Haisu (1896–1994), Liu admired, and often appropriated the styles of French-based modernist painters such as Cézanne, van Gogh and Matisse. Liu Kang came to Singapore in 1942 and had been credited with numerous contributions to the local arts scene. In 1952, Liu Kang, Chen Chong Swee, Chen Wen Hsi and Cheong Soo Pieng went on their historic field trip to Bali in search of a visual expression that was Southeast Asian. Liu drew much inspiration from this trip which inspired some of his latter works.
- The painting is dominated by the two figures .
- In the foreground , there are two figures sitting on the chairs facing each other. The model is posing a pose while the male artist is drawing a portrait of the female model. There are also two tea cups and a tea pot on the round table , while the handles of the tea cup facing the male artist at the table edge , while the tea pot handle facing the female model.
- In the background , there are scenery of mountains , greenary , river and clouds.
- The colours used are warm for the foreground and cool for the background.
- The colours used are flat and therefore , no texture is created in this painting.
- The female model wears accessories and skirt that is contrasting to the background , which could suggest that she is a local balinese women.
- The composition of the painting is painted where both figures are at the center . The female model is painted on the left while the male artist is painted on the right. The tea pot and tea cups are also painted red on a white surface to bring out a contrast.
- The mountains in the background are characterized by geometric shapes and bold white outlines.
- The foreground is dominated by warm colours such as yellow , orange , red and yellow-green.
- The artist draws a focus to the tea pot and tea cups by contrasting it with red on a white/light-blue surface.
- The painting depicts a female model that is half-naked and a fully-clothed male artist painting her.
- The subject matter is a reflection of double-standard . This may suggest that the society there may be sexist as the tea pot handle is facing the female model , perhaps the female model is serving tea to the male artist in the painting and the one looking and painting the scene.
- Unlike other paintings , this painting shows the female model sitting on a stool while the two chairs with backrest are sitted by the male artist and another one empty, perhaps , it is for the viewer of this scene to sit.
- The artist seems to suggest that females in that era/time/place seemed to be a subject of objectivity.
- In my opinion , this painting portrays sexism of the female gender. This painting also portrays the double-standard towards the females.
- The choice of colours portrayed like the skin colour on the female is brighter and the male with darker skin colour . This can mean that they are two different races or from two different places.
- It is a successful attempt because the painting shows a strong sense of sexism.