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Art What!: Decode | The art of Mi Fu by Ho Seok Kee

Screenshot 2020-11-16 at 7.05.00 PM

Insight (洞察力). Acrylic and oil on canvas | 100 x 120 cm

This month, UOB Art Gallery presents Decode, a solo art exhibition by Ms Ho Seok Kee, winner of the 2018 UOB Painting of the Year (POY) (Singapore) Silver Award, Established Artist Category. Decode showcases Ms Ho’s latest series of paintings which depicts her perspectives on modern technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer algorithms.

Insight (洞察力) is an artwork inspired by the ability to use machine learning to analyse large volumes of data and to turn it into actionable insights. Seok Kee fuses traditional ink painting styles with modern Western art mediums, applying Chinese ink brush techniques in her use of acrylic paint and canvas. The result is a painting that is rooted in tradition while inviting viewers to think about a future dominated by technology. It also calls upon viewers to ponder the role of technology in predicting and solving unprecedented crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms Ho’s experience of conducting classes with students from the Rainbow Centre1 served as a significant starting point for her latest series of paintings. In her preparation for these classes, she used computer programmes to manipulate and to simplify images digitally in order to help the students understand visual elements. This gave Ms Ho the inspiration to use digitally-manipulated images as a starting point for her creative ideas, thus leading to her latest collection.

Another aspect pervasive across Ms Ho’s latest body of work is the use of rice grains. This is a continuation of her earlier pieces which consists of rice paper paintings inspired by traditional Chinese ink philosophies and the works of Mi Fu (米芾), a Chinese painter, poet and calligrapher from the Song Dynasty (1051-1107). In order to continue the spirit of Chinese ink painting, each rice grain is painted with a single brush stroke and goes through a series of ‘press’, ‘drag’ and ‘lift’ movements (按笔, 行笔, 收笔).

Decode runs at the UOB Art Gallery till 8th December 2020. Visits to the UOB Art Gallery are by appointment only. Those who are keen to view the exhibition can set up an appointment by emailing the artist directly at kee.hsk@gmail.com for a private tour. More information available here

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