Description: Jolly Koh is an inveterate pilgrim of Beauty, and makes no apologies for it. A case in point is this depiction of Gunung Tempurung, which despite the attrition of quarrying, is shown here resplendent and majestic and with enough green cover to offset any physical denudation of its limestone surface. When it comes to playing with colours, Jolly Koh has few peers. After all, he had opined in Artistic Imperatives (1999) that in life, one should take the opportunity to enjoy art for its intrinsic beauty, and its celebration of human values. Writer-artist J. Anu had written that Dr. Jolly Koh’s “paintings retain the fidelity to the concrete as well as the emotional and the abstract.” It was his re-familiarisation with the Malaysian landscapes on his return after having lived for nearly two decades in Australia, where he was teaching in Adelaide. This work with the judicious chromatic hues is the smaller, nearly by half, of two on Gunung Tempurung, the larger being 136cm x 182cm titled Road To Ipoh (Page 22 of exhibition catalogue) in the exhibition, A View Of The Mountains, at NN Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, 1997. Jolly Koh has done several works referencing specific mountains like Kinabalu and Jerai, gestated from his nocturnal Terang Bulan. Jolly Koh is an 8th generation Baba, born in Singapore, grew up in Malacca, educated on art in Britain and the United States, and taught in Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and Australia. He graduated with a NDD (national diploma in design) at the Hornsey College of Art in London in 1962, followed up with an art teacher’s certificate at the London University (Institute of Education) in 1993. He won a Fulbright scholarship to study at the Indian University in the United States, completing his Doctor of Education in 1975 and Master of Science in 1973 (he was also a teaching associate from 1973 to 1975. He taught briefly at the Mara Institute of Technology and Sabah’s Gaya College before teaching Art in Melbourne and Adelaide and then back to Malaysia at the MSC College (now SeGi College). His first solo was at the British Council in Kuala Lumpur in 1957, when he was only 16! He was one of the Magnificent 7 in the GRUP exhibition held at the AIA Building, Kuala Lumpur, in 1967. In 2017, he published the 350-page retrospective book defining his career called Jolly Koh @ 76, which was also the title of the accompanying solo exhibition (organised by Curate Henry Butcher) at White Box, Publika.
Dimensions: 61cm x 92cm
Artist or Maker: JOLLY KOH
Medium: Oil on canvas
Provenance: Private collection, Selangor
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