Description: The mood evoked is one of a pre-dawn haziness as the sun rays surreptitiously filter through, but it’s essentially a landscape that is dreamy in its soft applications, minimal, with cool muted colours and sense of spaciousness without demarcations of blocks of vegetative variants. The lyrical gestural play resonates of the Colour Field with the contemplative hold of Mark Rothko, but much more genteel. Yeoh Jin Leng, a pioneer abstractionist of the Malaysian landscapes starting with his iconic 1960s Sawah Padi, has again pushed the métiers of such representation to a new level, as he had when revisiting padi-fields with a new time-code during the mid-1990s. The Melawati Series is not tied to the time per se of its creation, but one that was inspired by the memories of the place during the 1960s, but which is a marker of sorts as the Melawati green lung and frontier land was then, on the cusp of massive development coming its way. Home of the 110-acre Zoo Negara site, the Bukit Tabur hiking trail and Taman Rimba Ampang, it has become a thriving self-contained more affluent township Postcode 53100 in the decades that followed, and accessible by many highway links such as MRR2, Duke and Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway (Akleh). The time of his painting was also propitious, for he was to start working at the new Malaysian Institute of Art (MIA) campus there, as Dean of Studies and also head of the newly created Ceramics Department (1983-1993), as well as setting up home later amidst the verdant greens. Jin Leng is working on a new series of acrylic works on the Dance Of The Gopis.Yeoh Jin Leng is one of the few Malaysian artists left trained in the rigours of the classical British tradition, Chelsea no less from 1957 to 1961. He was also educated at the Malaysian Teachers College in Kirby, Liverpool, in 1952, and the London Ministry of Education, London University. Apart from the MIA, he had also lectured on Art Education at the Specialist Teachers Training Institute, Kuala Lumpur (1963-1968). He was in the pioneer abstract group called GRUP, after his first solo at the British Council, Kuala Lumpur, in 1965. He took part in the Sao Paulo Biennale in Brazil in 1969, and was in the Malaysian art travelling exhibition to Hamburg, Rome, St Etienne and Paris in 1967. He was honoured by the National Art Gallery with a Retrospective of his paintings, ceramics and installations in 1996. He held a mini Post-Retros Ten Years On in Kuala Lumpur of his 1997-2007 works. He was a two-term member of the Board of Trustees of the National Art Gallery in 1989-1991 and 1992-1997, president of the Society for Art Education from 1974-1983, and founder-member and vice-president of the Malaysian Artists Society 1982-1984.
Dimensions: 71cm x 89cm
Artist or Maker: YEOH JIN LENG
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Provenance: Private collection, Selangor
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