©2019 Song Art Foundation

阳春布德泽,万物生光辉

----  读何家良博士写生油画

 

已有诸多大藏家相当了解何家良博士进而收藏其创作。我谨在此寥表些许浅见,不足之处望请诸位先进海涵。本人收藏除了中国大陆和台湾书画名家、古董瓷器和黄花梨傢俱外,亦着重南洋本地艺术家的发展。收藏以第一代前辈大师,包括南洋美专(现南洋艺术学院)创办人林学大先生,以及有代表作印在新币50元钞票背面的两位——陈文希和钟泗宾为主,并倾注大量的精力进行研究鉴别。自第一代前辈以降,何家良博士作为本时代最杰出的南洋艺术家之一,他的创作尤为我所关注。

 

本地艺术界主要受到广东、福建由30年代始南来的前辈影响,水墨画风格以海上画派和岭南派为主要传承;油画在当时则极大地吸收了欧洲印象派和野兽派的特征,继而是立体主义、表现主义甚至抽象表现主义风格。

 

在地的艺术家秉承发源地的典型表现手法,发扬个人笔墨情趣,并相互影响,终于发展成为“南洋画风”,以之表现南洋独特的风土人情,具有强烈的区域景观。譬如倍感亲切的椰风、芭蕉、亚答屋、朴实的海岸还有渐渐逝去的老地标。与这些天然一同远去的还有我们的记忆。画家对于我们而言,再现的不仅是景象,更是心底的怀念,当我们的情绪与画家在同一的频率相遇,画面总能给我们极大的精神感染。

 

读何家良博士的画,感受到的是热情奔放的笔,青春洋溢的心,天真浪漫的思绪无所顾忌地徜徉于深具个人风格的自然氛围中。画面注重表现画家的主观精神和内在情感,深具表现主义风格。

 

1990年以来,“怀旧景色”、“绿满狮城” 、“绮丽风光”、“情系丹青”、“南洋乡土情”、“热带乡土情”、“美哉大自然”、“公园在花园城市”、“罗弄万国——最后一个甘榜 ” 、“诗情画意乌敏岛”等一系列个展,无不表达出对新加坡这片土地的热爱和人文关怀。而这种情怀与他作为一个国家菁英的身份无疑非常相称。

 

他20年间举办了11次个展,把自己在每个阶段的创作和成就系统地展示给观者,表现出对艺术创作积极负责的一面。不是仅以商业考量将作品卖给藏家,而是不断发展完善自己的艺术语言,为自己阶段性的成果和思想作好每一个註脚。登高必自卑,行远必自尔。绘画语言为每个艺术家终身所追求,以自己独有的语言述说天下万事,自成一格。勤力提升,展现自我风貌,不必解释,就是自我。通俗地说,即是遮去签名亦能一眼被认出。能达此境界者百不足一。何先生从艺几近60载,孜孜矻矻,奋力不懈。他必须潜心修炼,不为五斗米折腰,不以世俗之喜好为创作初衷,坚定不移,方能臻此佳境。

 

何博士历年来的展览,绝无墨守成规。他在技法、意境上皆有不断的变化、发展和提升,全然变化完成。他的画面以浓郁的色彩和个人特色,记录了新加坡的历史变迁,一个都市国家在人文和地貌上的演变。藉由书法的钻研和练习帮助他将金石味的线条应用于油画运笔,而随着年纪和阅历的增加,笔法也日渐老辣。宋人评画以逸格为上,“画之逸格,最难其俦,拙规矩于方圆,鄙精研于彩绘,笔简形具,得之自然,莫能楷模,出于意表,故目之曰逸格尔。”对于技巧的掌握虽重要,但更高级的境界是画家要有自己的语言和情境,能够感染和打动观者。是为上。

 

藏家者,不外乎注重藏品之艺术性与市场性。艺术性实为艺术史之肯定,市场性则是投资之回报。两者兼具,当为收藏上品。何家良先生的艺术成就及其影响力使之成为南洋艺术史上无法跨越的一页。

 

 

刘岱松女士

北京收藏家暨东南亚陶瓷学会监察人

2013年8月写于伯恒书院

 

 

Glorious Nature in Peace and Harmony
- an appreciation of Dr Ho Kah Leong’s en-plein-air oil paintings

 

Many collectors have come to know of Dr Ho Kah Leong’s art in depth, and have been inspired to collect his works. As a junior collector I wish to share my humble thoughts on appreciating Dr Ho’s oil paintings.

 

Among my private collections are works of renowned artists from mainland China and Taiwan ; antique ceramics, classical Huanghuali furniture. In Singapore , my focus has been on pioneer Nanyang artists the likes of Lim Hak Tai who is the founding principal of NAFA, Chen Wen Hsi and Cheong Soo Pieng whose masterpieces can be found adorning our $50 bills. Much efforts and resources have been mobilised into the appreciation and authentication of these works. After the first-generation predecessors, Dr Ho is one of, if not the most prominent of artists of Nanyang in our era.

 

Singapore's art community has been influenced by the pioneer artists southward from Guangdong and Fujian since the 1930s. It inherited the Hai-shang “海上画派”and Ling-nan style “岭南画派” which then dominated the China art society, while oil painting largely absorbed European Impressionism and Fauvism characteristics, followed by Cubism, Expressionism and even Abstract Expressionism style.

 

Then, local artists upheld the traits emblematic of its place of origin, fused with individual taste and interaction, to finally morph into what is now known as the Nanyang style of art. This art style has flourished ever since to express the unique local conditions which formed the striking regional landscape, with elements like the cordial coconut, plantations, kampong house on stilts, earthy coast and fading old landmarks.

 

Erased with certain parts of nature, are our memories. The artists have therefore not only drawn the original sceneries, but more with a sense of conviction from the heart. When the frequency of our emotions and that of the painter synchronised, art becomes spiritually infectious.

In the en-plein-air artworks of Dr Ho Kah Leong, we connect with the passionate brush from his youthful heart, and with romantic thoughts wandering in fresh nature albeit with a distinctive personal style. The focus in the pictures is to present the world from a more subjective perspective and inner emotions, to evoke our sympathetic resonance and showed tremendous expressionist characters.

 

Since 1990, in the series of solo exhibitions of Dr Ho, “Nostalgic Scenes”, “Beauty Lion City”, “Scenes Splendour”, “Passion for Art”, “Idyllic Nanyang”, “Idyllic Tropics”, “Beauty of Nature”, “Parks in Garden City”, “The Last Kampung of Singapore: Lorong Buangkok”, “Poetic Ubin”, “Splendour of Lakes and Hills” to name but a few, he has with passion expressed his love for his homeland of Singapore and his humanistic care. Did not this feeling seal his elite status of the nation?

 

Dr Ho’s 11 solo exhibitions in 20 years have shown viewers his fresh creations and achievements in stages, underpinning the exuberant energies to his art. It is not built on the commercial base to market his paintings, but on constantly developing and improving his personal art language, marking each milestone by creativity in thoughts.

 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Art language is a life-long pursuit of each artist. Once established, it expressed itself with consummate individuality each flow-on creation personifying its language. Indeed a rare realm, art language enable learned viewers to identify a particular artist’s works without his signature. In nearly 6 decades devoted to art, Dr Ho has persisted through his very hearty creations without compromise to eventually achieve this realm that shaped his art language.

 

We could find from Dr Ho’s series of solo exhibitions the transformation over different stages in skills and artistic conceptions. His works integrated rich colours and creative personal signature capturing the vicissitudes of Singapore – the city country in the humanities and geomorphologic evolution. His relentless refinement of Chinese calligraphy in recent years enabled the application of epigraphy strokes in the oil painting brush lines. Wealth in wisdom is unmistakably evidenced in enhanced brush sophistication.

 

Scholars of Song Dynasty rated spontaneous and undeliberate paintings crème de la crème. When "unintentional" pushed extreme, there be nothing to pursue deliberately, the painter shall not expressly exhibit his mastery of skills but with subtlety infuse his own artistic language and heart-felt sensation into each art creation. Eyes cast on inspired creations such as this infect viewers to nothing less than breathless, to the extent in which Dr Ho has done.

 

As a collector, we emphasize on the artistry and market value of the art works. Artistry is built on the recognition of art history; appreciating market value tells if the collection makes good return. Ideally both could be balanced. Dr Ho’s artistic achievements and its influence make him an enduring icon in the Nanyang history of art.

 

Allison Liu

Collector from Beijing, Honorary Auditor of Southeast Asian Ceramic Society