This large Chinese ink work by Chen Wen Hsi is painted in xieyi or freehand style, with modern composition influenced by Cubism. Chen’s favourite subjects were animals and birds, especially egrets, fish and gibbons, and scenes of nature. The vertically composed painting involves two viewpoints – the lotuses reaching up from among the masse of leaves forming the main viewpoint, and the carps swimming below, as if seen from the top. Chen has often split the planes of his painting compositions, dividing visual attention by using colour and subject. Here the fresh green ‘water’ tones balance the warm plant tones of the lotus leaves. An invigorating impression of the cycles of nature is made through the division of colours, planes and subject.
Another work by Chen Wen Hsi in the Singtel collection is a smaller painting of gibbons. A prolific artist, Chen spent much time watching his animals in his garden, as well as looking at nature.