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Friday August 30, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday August 30, 2013 MYT 9:32:11 AM
by jeremy tan
Variations on a theme: Tan posing with two of his paintings. The one on the right is called 'Castle In The Sky' and will be featured in an auction by Christie's.
THERE is always light in the darkness. A glimmer of hope in adversity.
That is the belief of Penang-born artist Eston Tan who has stuck to the theme in his latest paintings.
He came from humble beginnings but gained international recognition after his works were selected by Christie’s Hong Kong for upcoming auctions.
His oil painting ‘Castle In The Sky’ will go under the hammer this November, while two more pieces ‘Dinner @ Vienna’ and ‘26 Degree, Just Nice!’ will be featured in auctions next year.
He is, at 41, the youngest Malaysian to be featured by the prestigious auction house, and shows how far he has come since his childhood days when he had to work part-time at hawker stalls to help his family make ends meet.
The tough experience has influenced his art as night scenes are his subject of choice. The dark tones are illuminated by flashes of light and speckles of colour, representing the enduring presence of hope.
“When there is darkness all around you, every glimmer of light becomes a beacon of hope. As such, light is a very sentimental element to me and I’ve built my art identity around it.
“The little dots represent divine blessings from above,” Tan said.
He was speaking at the opening of his 12th solo exhibition titled ‘Homecoming’ at The Art Gallery in Pulau Tikus, Penang.
It features 20 expressionist pieces in oil, watercolour and mixed media, including the ones selected for the auction. They are from his Europe and Penang series done in recent years.
The Selangor-based artist remains firmly grounded despite his success and said, “There are lots of people that I need to thank. I’m still young, and there’s a long way to go.”
Tan said ‘Castle In The Sky’ was inspired by a mountainous scene in Salzburg, Austria, the birthplace of renowned composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Tan was in the city for a music festival and decided to spend some time sightseeing.
“I went up a mountain and stayed there for hours just admiring the changing scenery as day became night. For me, the spectacular scenes were the romance of life,” he revealed.
Other pieces like ‘Semua Pun Cari Makan Saja’ and ‘Towards the Brighter Future, Penang’ are allegorical references to the local social and political landscapes.
Datuk Dr Tan Chee Kuan, whose late wife Siau Bian founded the gallery in 1989, said the exhibition was the first they had held in over a decade. It continues until Sept 8, through viewing by appointment basis only.
The gallery is on the 4th floor, unit no. 8 (368-4-8) of Bellisa Row in Pulau Tikus, accessible by elevators at the back of the building.
Those interested to view Tan’s works may contact Datin Ivy Lee at 017-2266228 or Tan Ee-Lene at 012-6041434 to arrange for an appointment.
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Lifestyle, Northern Region, eston and art gallery
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