Lim Tiong Ghee



Lim Tiong Ghee (b. 23 March 1955, Singapore–)1 began as a watercolourist before moving to acrylic and collage. A self-taught artist, he has exhibited extensively and views painting as a medium to portray the quotidian.2 He gained critical acclaim when his collage From the Turtledove won the top award at the 8th UOB Painting of the Year Competition in 1989.3

Artistic career
Lim never had formal art training other than the art lessons he took at GCE “A” Level. He started painting seriously only upon the encouragement of friends when he was enlisted in National Service. His time as a senior graphic artist at the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (now Mediacorp) also spurred his interest in art,4 and he quit to become a fulltime artist.5


Clinching the grand prize in the 1989 UOB Painting of the Year Competition proved to be a turning point for Lim. His work was selected by a team of renowned judges from the arts scene, including the late Ismail Zain of Malaysia, Professor Jose Joya of the Philippines and Singapore artist, Thomas Yeo. Along with a S$12,000 cash prize, Lim was accorded a solo exhibition the following year at the Empress Place Museum.6

Stylistic conventions
In the early days, Lim focused mainly on depicting landscapes using watercolour. He was adept with the medium and his brushstrokes were commended for being fluid and spontaneous. He frequently engaged in on-site painting and his subjects were often the familiar streets and scenes of Singapore.7


Later, he shifted towards developing his paintings in the studio. He began to give critical attention to elements such as shape, form, space, perspective, colour and composition, using collage and acrylic paint to translate them into paintings.8

Lim values the two-dimensional reality and purposefully flattens his shapes and forms as a way of creating abstractions of his subject matter without completely breaking them down.9 His  Seabreeze series depicts the different nuances of the sea and land. In the series, yellows are contrasted with blues and reds with blacks. The waves are presented in a minimalist manner, as if to evoke an aural response from the viewer.10

Similarly, he prefers abstraction in his portrayal of landscapes and tropical flowers as he believes it can evoke a stronger reaction from the viewer than purely figurative forms. The abstract imagery subsequently functions as a creative starting point from which abstract rice-paper collages are constructed.11

Solo exhibitions12
1981:
National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore.

1990: Empress Place Museum, Singapore.
1992: The Substation Gallery, Singapore.
1996: Art Salon, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
1998: Goethe-Institut, Munich, Germany.
2000: Tropical Contemplation, Damasak Asia, The Alchemy Gallery, London, United Kingdom.
2001: Sun Rock, Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong.
2004: Vermont Studio Centre, United States.
2010: Sense at Play, Art-2 Gallery, Singapore.

Group exhibitions13
1986: Two Man Show, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore.
1986: 12 Singapore Artists, Collectors Gallery, Raffles City, Singapore.
1987: New Direction ’87, Museum Art Gallery, Singapore.
1987: Centenary Art Exhibition, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore.
1989: International Watercolour Exhibition, Thailand.
1991: International Watercolour Exhibition, Korea.
1992: International Watercolour Exhibition, Taiwan.
1996: Singapore Arts Festival ’96, Atrium Gallery, Singapore.
1996: Nine Artists in Bali, Art Forum, Fort Canning Hill Gallery, Singapore.
1996: Taipei Art Fair, Taipei, Taiwan.
1997: Art-2 Gallery, The Substation Gallery, Singapore.
1998: Art-2 Gallery, The Substation Gallery, Singapore.
1998: Special exhibition in Essen in China exhibition, Museum für Volkerkunde, Munich, Germany.
1999: Abandoned Thoughts, Art-2 Gallery, The Substation Gallery, Singapore.
1999: A Brave New World, Soobin Art Gallery, Singapore.
2001: The Watch Has No Numbers, Art-2 Gallery, The Substation Gallery, Singapore.
2002: Joint exhibition with Goh Beng Kwan, Wetterling Teo Gallery, Singapore.14
2003: To Sleep, To Dream, Art-2 Gallery, Singapore.
2003: Singapore Group Show, Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong.
2005: 6th Face, MICA Building, Singapore.
2013: Season's Interpretation, One East Artspace, Singapore.

Awards15
1978:
Special Award, National Day Art Exhibition, Singapore.

1984: 1st prize in the representational category of the UOB Painting of the Year Competition, Singapore.
1989: Top award in the UOB Painting of the Year Competition, Singapore.
2004: VSC Freeman Fellowship 2004/2005, Vermont Studio Centre, United States.



Author

Nurhaizatul Jamila Jamil



References
1. Koh, B. S. (Ed.). (1993). Singapore: Places, poems, paintings. Singapore: Art and Artist Speak, p. 237. (Call no.: RART 700.95957 SIN)
2. Koh, B. S. (Ed.). (1993). Singapore: Places, poems, paintings. Singapore: Art and Artist Speak, p. 236. (Call no.: RART 700.95957 SIN)
3. Collage work with unusual depiction of love wins UOB's painting of year award. (1989, August 24). The Straits Times, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Koh, B. S. (Ed.). (1993). Singapore: Places, poems, paintings. Singapore: Art and Artist Speak, p. 236. (Call no.: RART 700.95957 SIN)
5. Ooi, K. C. (1996, May 16). In search of balance and harmony. The New Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
6. Ooi, K. C. (1996, May 16). In search of balance and harmony. The New Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

7. Koh, B. S. (Ed.). (1993). Singapore: Places, poems, paintings. Singapore: Art and Artist Speak, p. 236. (Call no.: RART 700.95957 SIN)
8. Koh, B. S. (Ed.). (1993). Singapore: Places, poems, paintings. Singapore: Art and Artist Speak, p. 236. (Call no.: RART 700.95957 SIN)
9. Koh, B. S. (Ed.). (1993). Singapore: Places, poems, paintings. Singapore: Art and Artist Speak, p. 236. (Call no.: RART 700.95957 SIN)
10. Tributes to nature. (2002, July 6). The Business Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Sian, E. J. (1999, July 22). Appreciate art and sensuality with wild abandonThe Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Art-2 Gallery. (2016). Lim Tiong Ghee. Retrieved 2016, August 16 from Art-2 Gallery website: http://static1.squarespace.com/static/5588aadee4b0ceb955a80292/t/5667f375841abadb3a81396f/1449653109136/LIM+TIONG+GHEE+2015.pdf
13. Art-2 Gallery. (2016). Lim Tiong Ghee. Retrieved 2016, August 16 from Art-2 Gallery website: http://static1.squarespace.com/static/5588aadee4b0ceb955a80292/t/5667f375841abadb3a81396f/1449653109136/LIM+TIONG+GHEE+2015.pdf
14. Tributes to nature. (2002, July 6). The Business Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Art-2 Gallery. (2016). Lim Tiong Ghee. Retrieved 2016, August 16 from Art-2 Gallery website: http://static1.squarespace.com/static/5588aadee4b0ceb955a80292/t/5667f375841abadb3a81396f/1449653109136/LIM+TIONG+GHEE+2015.pdf



The information in this article is valid as at 2009 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Lim, Tiong Ghee, 1955-
Award winners--Singapore--Biography
Personalities>>Biographies>>Artists
Arts>>Painting
Artists--Singapore--Biography
Artists