Using art as coping mechanism


  • Metro News
  • Thursday, 14 Sep 2017

‘First Love‘ conveys the artist’s passionate emotions and paints nature as the embodiment of love.

SOMETIMES it is out of our darkest moments that greatness arises, and the same can be said for artist Mark Lee.

After picking up his paintbrushes again about two-and-a-half years ago, he is now proud to display his latest series of works in his first solo exhibition titled “Her”.

Lee, 35, a film director pursuing his doctorate in Forestry Science, admitted that he turned to painting as a way to cope after falling into deep depression.

“I started with black and white, and all my works were very sad in the beginning.

“But I slowly changed to brighter colours because life was getting much better as it goes,” said Lee, who came to his turning point when he returned to religion.

Rediscovering his faith came as a blessing for him as he felt uplifted following his spiritual awakening and put brush to canvas as his way of glorifying life.

Lee said the series captured the intense emotions associated with love in a rather abstract form.

Lee started mixing in black ink in his later pieces to give the paintings a Chinese touch.
Lee started mixing in black ink in his later pieces to give the paintings a Chinese touch.
 

He said the title “Her” the series alluded could be interpreted as being both autobiographical or fictional. To the viewer, “Her” could be thought of as the embodiment of love.

The 17 mixed media on canvas pieces here display an intense mix of deep, strong and vibrant colours, utilising techniques such as pouring, brush strokes and knife strokes.

Many of the pieces use mainly oil and acrylic as a medium, but Lee started using black ink - the same one used in Chinese calligraphy - in his later pieces, to give the paintings a little bit of a Chinese touch.

He said the type of love depicted in his works was not a specific type of love as for him, it signified a love for mountains, skies, and nature in general. He took up hiking as a result from engaging in his chosen subject matter and put the emotions he felt from what he saw onto the canvas.

“The blend of colours places an emphasis on the world and how beautiful it is.

“It’s more about the emotion rather than the picture you see in front of you,” he said regarding the abstract form.

‘Angel of Passion‘ depicts the beauty of mountains on a moonlit autumn night in a manner akin to describing a beautiful woman. — Photos: K.K. SHAM/The Star
‘Angel of Passion‘ depicts the beauty of mountains on a moonlit autumn night in a manner akin to describing a beautiful woman. — Photos: K.K. SHAM /The Star
 

Bright, vibrant circles are a recurring theme in many of Lee’s works because for him, they symbolise energy, power and passion.

The formation of the mountains in tandem with the positioning of the circles can also be seen as nature embodied in an almost human shape, creating a new facet to Lee’s abstract depiction of love.

The Art People Gallery (TAPG) director Lum Hoong Sheng said that feedback on the exhibition was good and that many viewers took a liking to Lee’s vibrant contemporary works.

“People in the art industry like to see up-and-coming artists like him,” said Lum.

He said that TAPG was first established two years ago by his father Lum Peng Cheong as a platform for artists and collectors alike to share their stories, expand their networks and discuss art.

The gallery, located in Bandar Bukit Raja, Klang, has an exhibition space of 7,000 sq ft (650.3 sq m) and has hosted seven exhibitions so far, including Lee’s.

“These shows are vital to the development of art culture in Malaysia,” Lum added.

“Her” is showing until Sunday at TAPG, No 30, First and Second Floor, Jalan Makyong 5C/KU5, Bandar Bukit Raja, Klang. The gallery is open from Tuesday to Saturday between 11am and 6pm. To make a viewing appointment, contact Lum at 012-555 7540 or visit www.theartpeoplegallery.com


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