Ong Kim Seng


Singaporean
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Rochor Road
2012

Cavenagh Bridge
2010

Kinta Road
2011

MICA Building
2010

Jinrickisha Station


Morning Light


Duxton Road II
2009

Rail Meet


Road to Food Stalls
2011

Merchant Road
2012

Lane of Little India
1995

Mackenzie Road
2004

Canal in Venice
2011

Tanjong Pagar Road
2014

Melaka River
1999

Kampong Glam


Angkor Wat, Cambodia
2010

Samuan Tiga, Bali
2013

Welders in Jurong
1976

R1 Chatting at the River
2014

About The Artist

Behind languid strokes and the iridescent meld of transient color lies the hand of a man enchanted by light, devoted to color and inspired by the honesty within the artistic throes of creation. A self-taught observer, traveler and passionate learner, Ong Kim Seng has climbed the ranks of formal appreciation to claim his title as one of the most celebrated watercolorists of our age, gaining international renown and staking his claim as a modern-day cultural treasure.

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Born in 1945 in Singapore, Ong Kim Seng held a fascination for the arts since early childhood, steadily growing in skill and recognition to become a practiced and acclaimed connoisseur of colors and form. A patron and practitioner of the ‘plein-air’ technique, the artist has shown mastery over the capture of light, expertly using positive space and shadows to create stunningly realistic depictions of silhouettes and representation. From scenic friezes to humble streets and back lanes, the artist venerates the natural elements in his visuals, bringing together  elements and mediums to create a medley of colors and form that stem from imitation and yet, result in a creation of a distinctive oeuvre.

From a boy of humble means to one of Singapore’s most prominent artistic icons; the secret behind Ong Kim Seng’s art is his extraordinary control over his medium, loyalty to his subject matter and discipline of practice. His lack of formal training imbued his artistic sensibilities with an intrinsic instinct of depiction. He sometimes renders details with exquisite sharpness and sometimes blends misty washes of transient color together as he deems fit. The broad spectrum of his concepts has allowed the artist to explore the varying degrees of mediums and depictions, even moving into post-impressionistic ‘California Style’ colors and strokes.

The images contained in his art do not convey extreme emotions, they simply play on the nuances of natural light, exacerbating the ordinary into visual splendor and capturing texture and luminescence with layers of pigment. The skill in his art is indelible, and his aesthetic eye even more so. Merging concepts with finesse of execution, the artist presents representative images which are also ethereal in their beauty, flawless in their elemental flow and appropriation of light.

Ong Kim Seng has exhibited worldwide and won a multitude of awards, including six awards from the American Watercolor Society, and the coveted Cultural Medallion for visual arts by the Ministry of Information and the Arts, Singapore. The artist was President of the Singapore Watercolor Society from 1991 to 2001. Ong's works have graced the collections of a number of museums and art galleries as well as the residences of foreign dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II of England and Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations. His works are also exhibited in foreign missions and embassies of the Republic of Singapore. Public and private patrons have commissioned paintings from him. For instance, in 1984, he was given the honour to paint the National Day Parade by the Straits Times, and a year later, the late President Ong Teng Cheong commissioned a painting for his new official residence, the Command House, at Kheam Hock Road. In February 2004, he received a commission to paint for Singapore Polytechnic's Convention Centre and Plaza. In 1993 his work, 'Bhaktaphur' was the first Singapore watercolor painting to be auctioned by Sotheby's in Hong Kong, and in March 1994, his work, 'Bali' was auctioned by Christie's in Singapore. His works are now auctioned annually in Singapore and in the region and in addition, Ong's weekends for the past ten years have been spent conducting watercolor painting classes

Artist Statement

"I have to feel a place before I paint it. If I have good feelings for a scene - just as I may have good feelings for someone  I meet - I know I'll have the will to paint it well. For me, and for all painters, I believe, inspiration comes naturally when there's a link between the artist and his subject."

Corporate and Public Collections  
Queen Elizabeth II of England
The Prime Minister of the People's Republic Of China
The Secretary-General of the United Nations
President of the Republic of Korea
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
The President of the Republic of the Philippines
The Prime Minister of Japan
The Prime Minister of India
The Governer of Hokkaido
Singapore Arts Museum
Singapore Maritime Museum
The Agung Rai Museum
Neka Museum in Bali, Indonesia

Awards


2003 
Awarded the Silver Award by the organizing committee of the National Watercolor Exhibition of the People's Republic of China in Fuzhou, China.

2001 
Supported of the Arts Awards presented by the National Arts Council. The Singapore Internationale by the Singapore International Foundation

2000
Awarded the Winsor & Newton Award presented by the American Watercolor Society at the Salmagundi Club, New York on April 28, 2000 for the painting "Old Corner, Nepal"
Conferred the Dolphin Fellowship by American Watercolor Society
Awarded The Excellence for Singapore Award 2000 by the Singapore Totalisator Board on 4 August, 2000. Presented by Singapore Ex-President, Dr Wee Kim Wee.

1995
Pingat Apad, awarded by the Malay cultural group, Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya 9th December 1995, National Museum by Mr. Mohamad Packer Mohd. MITA. Perm-Sec.

1992
Awarded the Base Miller Memorial Award presented by the American Watercolor Society at the Salmagundi Club, New York on May 1st 1992 for the painting "Gyantse Market."
Paintings, Sentosa from Mt Faber and Raffles Hotel selected by the "Look JTB" travel magazine cover from 1992 to 1994, distributed in Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Sapporo.

1991
Awarded the 1990 Cultural Medallion, Presented by the Ministry of Information and the Arts., Singapore
Presented the "Ponnadai" (Golden Shawl) by the Singapore Kairalee Kala Nilayam (Singapore Kairalee Arts Centre) in recognition of the artistic achievements given to Singapore. 

1990
Active member, American Watercolor Society (A.W.S) New York, U.S.A.

1989
Clara Stroud Memorial Award by American Watercolor Society, New York, U.S.A. (Third work to win the AWS Award, Thimi Nepal)

1988
Lucy B. Moore Memorial Award by American Watercolor Society , New York, U.S.A. (Second work to win the AWS Award, Backyard, Singapore.)

1983
Paul B. Remmy AWS Memorial Award by American Watercolor Society, New York, U.S.A. (1st work to win AWS Award, Heart of Katmandu.)

1982
P.J. Ireland Award, Macquerie University, N.S.W. Australia.

1977
Medal Award, Presented by the Ministry of Culture at the National Art Exhibition for painting exhibited.

1974
First Prize, Port of Singapore Authority Artist Encouragement Scheme Open Art Competition.

 

Exhibitions

2014
Nostalgia in Transformation, Ode to Art, Singapore

2013
Solo Exhibition with Quanhua Watercolour Art Gallery, Shanghai, China

2010
Poems in Watercolour, Galerie Belvedere, The Arts House, Singapore

2008
Home and Nation in the Art of Ong Kim Seng, Singapore Art Museum

2005
Shanghai Land of Splendour, Shanghai Art Fair
Guangzhou Art Fair, Guangzhou Commodity Fair Exhibition, China

2004
Moments of Light, Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore

2003
Mastering Light and Shade, National University of Singapore

2002
Timeless Jiangnan - with Kwek Leng Joo, Singapore

2000
Recent works of Ong Kim Seng, Singapore History Museum

Videos


Ong Kim Seng - Nostalgia in Transformation
Ong Kim Seng
Ode To Art is deeply honored to present master of watercolor: Ong Kim Seng's solo exhibition. Behind languid strokes and the iridescent meld of transient color, lies the hand of a man enchanted by light, devoted to color, and inspired by the honesty held within the artistic throes of creation. A self-taught observer, traveler and passionate learner- Ong Kim Seng has climbed the ranks of formal appreciation to claim his title as one of the most celebrated water colorists of our age, etching his name into international renown and staking his claim as a modern-day cultural treasure.
SINGAPORE SERIES: Sculpture - Art Lecture Full Video
Ong Kim Seng, Lim Tze Peng, Zhu Hong, Hong Zhu An
By Jeffrey Say

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Ong Kim Seng
Nostalgia in Transformation

Watercolour virtuoso, prolific visionary and perhaps one of the most laurelled artists that have graced Singapore’s Art scene till date- Mr Ong Kim Seng is the embodi- ment of artistic passion. Through our years of professional collaborations, Mr Ong has never ceased to amaze me with his humility and undying vigour to explore, learn and achieve.

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