The exhibition opening and book launch for Singaporean contemporary artist Goh Beng Kwan was held at Daiichi Art Space last weekend. For a first-time visitor, Daiichi Art Space is a pretty and atmospheric venue, with a fine-dining French restaurant on its ground floor. Goh Beng Kwan, immediately recognizable by his trademark vest was a distinguished figure at the show. Kwan is a holder of the Cultural Medallion for his contributions to visual arts in Singapore. In the opening speech by Lee Khai, D.J.N., Chairman of Penang State Art Museum, he acclaimed Kwan’s hard work the incorporation of different cultures into his art and persona. He noted the need to increase the number of people writing about art in Malaysia and supporting art publication. After introductions, a short film about Kwan’s working style and history was screened.

Cresting the Waves features new abstracted landscape watercolour and ink pieces, in addition to his earlier oil and acrylic work forming a retrospective exhibition. The overall exhibition, whilst very well presented in the main gallery space felt a bit choked on opening night. The lighting in the restaurant below, which held some of my preferred paintings was not as well suited for gallery viewing as upstairs, where there was great visibility and beautiful plants hanging from the roof. The watercolours were impressive in their expressiveness, but my interests laid in some of the earlier work that made up the retrospective, which were mostly large acrylic and oil paintings. Eternity (2017) in particular stood out in its use of collage and scale. The Ink Lotus series (2017) is also an expressive success. Wild Field (2019) was one of the pieces from the new works which stood out in its muted contrast of ink and colour.

 Cresting the Waves is at Daiichi Art Space – 25, Jalan Argyll, George Town, 10050 – from 8 September to 6 October 2019 (closed on Mondays). The space is open from 1pm to 6pm.

By Desola Kazeem