墨迹 | My Brush by Quek Kah Pok
Merlin Gallery is proud to present My Brush, an inaugural solo exhibition of calligraphy works by Johnny Quek, gallerist, entrepreneur, art collector, and calligrapher. Held at Merlin Gallery at Waterloo Center, the exhibition will open on 17th January 2020 and run for one month.
My Brush honors the private collection of calligraphy works by 72-year old Johnny Quek, a prominent gallerist as well as a long-time director of Merlin Gallery. He is best known as a key collector and promoter for works by Singapore’s pioneering artist Dr Chen Wen Hsi. An advocate for Chinese calligraphy and arts, Quek’s love for this heritage form of Chinese writing was instilled in him during his childhood days by his scholarly father.
Ever since he was a primary two student, Quek has been practicing Chinese calligraphy daily for over sixty years, writing up to 1000 characters per day. He was initially introduced to the ancient art by his father, who made it imperative for him to practice daily as a child; Quek eventually took it upon himself to perfect the skill. Traditionally, Chinese calligraphers tend to model after historic masters’ works as a way to learn. In 1972, Quek’s calligraphy teacher advised him to learn the style of Liu Gongquan's "Mysterious Tower", which he followed diligently. After practicing for 10 years, Quek decided in 1982 that it was been a mistake - and he decided to change his course of practice for the next 35 years, following his heart and creating his own style and technique of calligraphy, which he holds till today.
My Brush is a special exhibition that showcases sixteen inspirational calligraphy pieces which are representative of his works. His philosophy to calligraphy is that one should practice habitually and write naturally. When it comes to his choice of materials, he believes in using the highest quality brushes and ink. He would specially commission animal-based brushes to be custom-made from China to ensure that the brush quality is refined and authentic. Painting on calligraphy sheets of up to 8 feet daily is not a new feat to Quek, as he masterfully completes most of the pieces in less than 20 minutes each. The two largest works in the exhibition each took him over an hour to complete.
Calligraphy is celebrated as an outward expression of the artist’s inner psychology. As such, Quek believes that leaving a beautifully written scroll is akin to giving gold to the future generations.
Image courtesy of the artist and Merlin Gallery