Born in China in 1947, Chua studied Chinese ink painting under the late Fan Chang Tien (1907-1987) from 1975 to 1984. Years later, he took up formal training in Western Art and graduated from the University of Western Sydney in 1995.Read More
Citing Fan as the most important influence in his artistic career, Chua is also proficient in Chinese calligraphy, poetry writing and seal carving. He has a seal which reads, lather awkwardness than skillfulness. This is consistent with the philosophy of traditional scholar-artists who often sought to distance themselves from the technical virtuosity of professional painters. Chua’s works do not seek to replicate nature but serve as a creative expression of his thoughts and personality.
‘Chua discharges a loaded brush with marvellous swiftness- his hand hovers, his eyes dart, his wrist flicks. His brush is spun and twisted or punctuates the rice paper in a brusque and furious manner. His execution has been compared to a feverish performance as it often involves the co-option of his entire body. Chua leans and stretches, strides across formidable sheets of paper & his body intermittently contorting and resting’ – Lindy Poh
They appear as evocative brush marks, punctuating the unspoilt surface of the paper almost randomly. Some works are radically minimalist & other are dense with unruly energies, with ink marks swarming almost completely over the paper surfaces. All these faces of the lotus pulsate with palpable life.
The poet in Chua can see poetry in the most mundane blank walls. He often chose to depict old buildings with their crumbling walls and dilapidated facades. With incisive calligraphy strokes, rich tonal values and textures that he coaxes out of his brush, Chua breathes life into inanimate objects. His cityscapes belong spiritually in the realm of Chinese art. Chua views his subjects in close-up more in the manner of easel painting than as a hanging scroll. His art has made a breakthrough from a conventional Chinese art form to that of a more contemporary, Western style. In doing so, Chua has shown himself to be very much an artist of his time.
Text courtesy Gajah Gallery.