NEW Zealand’s stunning natural beauty never fails to beguile visitors and leave images of paradise firmly planted in their memories.
Penang artist Koh Teng Huat is one of them, having been smitten by what he saw during a 16-day trip last October and November.
The vast pastures, pristine beaches and alpine peaks were so awe-inspiring that he produced a series of 31 paintings upon his return.
These are currently on display in his solo exhibition titled, ‘Serene Impressions’ at The Art Gallery, Penang, located at Level 4 of Bellisa Row in Pulau Tikus.
“New Zealand has amazing landscapes in every direction. No matter where you go or where you look, everything is pristine and tranquil.
“Unless you’ve been there, it is hard to imagine just how beautiful the colours are. It is like paradise,” Koh quipped at the show’s recent opening.
His springtime visit, which was sponsored by a tour company, covered many locations acrossboth the North and South Islands.
Queenstown, Lake Tekapo and the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park left the biggest imprint, and are depicted in multiple paintings.
“Nature has always been my liking. I’m from Balik Pulau and grew up amongst padi fields, but New Zealand is different altogether.
“Photos alone don’t do it justice. You have to be there and soak it up. It will stay in your heart,” said the experienced and well-known artist.
Koh is among a handful of artists in Penang who actively paint with a palette knife. His signature style evolved from traditional impasto.
While that involves dabbing on thick slabs of paint, his unique twist is thinning the layers down. Combined with a deft interplay of gentle and hard strokes, his paintings have a three-dimensional depth.
In her opening speech, gallery director Tan Ee Lene said it was evident that New Zealand is Koh’s favourite place to paint.
“You can see how inspired he is with paintings of so many different scenes, and scenes of the same place but at different angles and times of day.
“He adores the wide open spaces of the countryside, with clear blue skies and stunning landscapes that go beyond the imagination,” she elaborated.
She pointed to Kea Point 2 Mount Cook as her favourite work due to a perfect juxtaposition of glacier, mountain peak and human figures.
“It truly gives you a sense of calmness and tranquility with its cool tones, from the white snow on the ground and mountains to the blue sky,” Tan added.
Koh himself was highly pleased with the body of work. Moving forward, he intends to visit more countries and come up with more series of paintings.
The exhibition is his 10th solo and continues until March 17. It is open for viewing from 2pm to 5pm every Friday to Sunday. Admission is free.
For other times, viewings can be made by appointment. Call Tan at 012-6041434.
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