Art is a step from nature toward the Infinite.
A work of art is a mist carved into an image.
These two lines from Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran’s poem “The Sand and the Foam” encapsulate married artists Terry Poh and Cristene Chang’s relationships with their subject: the East Coast of Singapore.
Their love of the sea began as young children growing up by the water. They lived very near the East Coast and their schools faced the sea. As young adults, their love story was shaped by the sea. They took long walks barefoot by the beach during the day and at night. On weekends and holidays, they swam, sunbathed, had picnics and barbecue parties with friends. The sea was and still is very much a part of their lives.
Throughout it all, even with new additions to the family, they chose to stay near the coast. And they remain devoted to each other and their common love for the sea.
Terry Poh Ju Yong’s The Sea is a sculptor’s take on his love of the water. His mixed media oil painting stands out as three-dimensional in a two-dimension format. It is somewhat abstract but one can still see familiar shapes and movements. What may seem like waves from afar, are actually fishes once you come in for a closer look. The focus is narrower and highlights the fishes in the sea, the waves and sea foam. The colors are vibrant which suggest action and energy. It seems as if the artist started with the idea of the fish and waves in the sea as his main theme and worked his way outward. The eye is drawn towards the center of the painting where all the action is. It is evident that the artist is accustomed to tactile projects which feature his sensibility and strengths.
Cristene Chang’s “Sand & the Foam” is part of a series inspired by the poem mentioned earlier. This piece is a combination of oil and printmaking techniques on paper. She takes a step back and widens her view to showcase the sea horizon. There is no discernible shape or object in this abstract work. Through the subtle layers of color, the artist evokes the sea as serene and calm. There is no movement, just stillness. It makes one think of that time in the afternoon before the sun starts to set. The sun is still out but it is not too hot anymore. The viewer is immediately drawn to lighter shades. The whites and the yellows effectively highlight and contrast the sky and the sea. Her work becomes more impactful upon closer look when you see the ridges and grooves from the layers of printing.
Two different artists. One common subject. Each produced a different work of art. They tackled what they saw in nature differently and created their own personal representations. An infinite number of manifestations are possible based on the artists’ skills, emotions, background and personality. They took that temporary snapshot in their minds and hearts, and left tangible imprints through their works.
Belinda Yap is a finance professional who is passionate about exploring her creative and artistic side. With a dose of healthy curiosity and firm resolve, she will try anything from fine art to literary art. Besides artistic pursuits, she finds working on arts and crafts projects a satisfying alternative.