Art Talk

DISCOVERY – 5 artists group exhibition

Another lovely Saturday.  Why? because it was windy and because I will again be going to JETH Gallery for some wonderful art viewing.  This time, the exhibition is called DISCOVERY, a group exhibition of 5 artists.

A very attractive catalogue greets us, showing the surreal side of Denis Chai Kah Yune’s art, possibly encouraging us to think about the twilight years of traditional wooden fishing boats. Is it going to be fully replaced by fibreglass boats and hence the art of traditional boat-making is lost?  

The opening was graced by Dr Foo Yong Kong PhD in Fine Art, President of Malaysia Contemporary Chinese Paintng & Calligraphy Association.  He gave an overview and brief analysis of each artist’s style with words of praise and encouragement.

One for the artists’ album -
From left :  Denis Chai, Loo Si Jie, Dr Sandra Yeoh ( Art Director of Jeth Gallery ), Dr Foo, Lee Weng Fatt and Tang Gaik Hoon.

Let’s take a closer look at each artist and maybe make our own DISCOVERY –


An art writer commented that Lee Weng Fatt’s current work has progressed from Realism to a more Impressionistic style. Yes, I do agree and the result is a style unique to himself. Lee also agrees that one’s art must also continually evolve, to DISCOVER more!
His subjects are mainly everyday sights and you can almost smell and hear the daily going-ons, Such as this section of his painting of hawkers whipping up a familiar dish.
Street Alley in KL

For my own DISCOVERY, I decided to do a close ‘inspection’ of  part of this painting  entitled “Sundry in Penang #1”  that attracted me

Look at the familiar dry food products stored in plastic bags hanging in a sundry shop.  I quizzed him – “How do you make it look so translucent, so effortlessly?”
He was ever ready to share and said “It’s all in the stroke and the palette knife”.  And working with oil allows him to add  layers and create texture, almost similar to the moss ridden, paint peeling  patina of old walls.
Palette knife, we can buy, but his skill…would require years of practice and DISCOVERY to find the perfect method,..and of course, talent too.  
Mind you, he has been training and perfecting his art for 26 years, since art school!


Friends and fans who have befriended her on social media will recognize this painting of a Nyonya (Peranakan) lady in a rickshaw.  Her delicate depiction of the Nyonya  ladies of yesteryear where customs and traditional are closely adhered to is what I feel sets her apart from other artists of similar theme. These ladies are epitome of style and grace.

Dr Foo commented that although this composition is about traditional Peranakan culture, but there are areas rendered in contemporary technique, reminding him of the works of veteran artist, Awang Damit. This creates balance between antiquity and modernity


This bubbly lady who has lived quite some time in the States is currently finishing up her artist residency at Rimbun Dahan, a strong supporter of the arts

Her youth and vibrancy can be seen in her strong depiction of “Dance of the Strong Men”. And being a world music percussionist, we too can see her rhythmic strokes.

“Physical Meditation” is an acrylic piece that leads you to visual ‘peace’ with its calming, swirling strokes of mesmerizing colours.


Denis is very vocal and inventive when it comes to his art. And why not? Making art requires one to break borders, to make DISCOVERIES and advance through skill and innovation.

Glorious Era

I was surprised that his painting which looked like it was painted on old, distressed wood was actually an innovation on his part, using thick watercolour paper and a few tricks of the trade. Look closer, he urged me.  Yes, how clever but it is practical too. Real wood may not last and could be infested by minute creatures that may spoil or ‘hurt’ the painting and its value to the collector.
Then, of course, the next question is why wood (or in this case faux wood)? Denis has done extensive research, having visited both popular fishing villages and smaller fishing communities and listened to their tales, their woes and hopes. Using the visual analogy of distressed wood similar to those from old fishing boats and wooden houses, which is exposed to sea water and requires different, more protective paints, he hopes to bring the viewer back to those days when life was simpler and also to appreciate the vanishing art of boat-making and dilemma of fishermen.
In Search of Lost Memories

And in this exhibition, he has also gone beyond the fishing village to DISCOVER “the world” and re-DISCOVER memories of a small town boy in a big city.
The fifth artist is Ishan Yu from Taiwan. She is unable to attend the exhibition.

Floating #5

There is still time to catch this exhibition, DISCOVERY – 5 Artists Group Exhibition
Venue              :   JETH Gallery
Duration          :   3-18 December 2016
Address           :   1st floor, Selangor Complex
                             Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely the current opinions of the author and should not be construed to reflect the opinions, policies or positions of any entity other than the author's.