This early abstract painting by Poh Siew Wah marks a departure from the watercolour street scenes that he was known for. Using a new palette of primary colours Poh’s composition is influenced by American colour field practice developed by Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman among others.
Where Poh’s watercolours are soft-edged with subtle detail, his abstract work derives strength from its sparse composition. In this painting the strong use of colour backgrounds, and deliberate lines and marks on the painting surface have become an intrinsic part of the artist’s visual vocabulary.
Several Nanyang Academy artists like Goh Beng Kwan, Thomas Yeo and Tan Choh Tee have also produced abstract works, and each including Poh, have created their own deliberate style of painting. Also in the Singtel collection are another abstract work by Poh Untitled, 1994, which uses more colour, calligraphy and collage; and a watercolour Hylam Street, undated.