Opening: Fri 27/05/2022, 06 pm – 09 pm
Exhibition: 27 May – 25 June 2022
Craig Thomas Gallery
27(i) Trần Nhật Duật, Tân Định ward, D.1, HCMC
From the organizer:
Over the past two decades, Lim Khim Katy has been earnestly painting with a passion and dedication that is perhaps only fully appreciated by a few who know her very well. The entire oeuvre of works of Katy since 2002 represent, however, a manifestly impressive and profound achievement possible only for a uniquely talented and disciplined artist. Living and working in Saigon for the course of her artistic career to date, Katy has created an ever evolving and expanding visual record of contemporary life in Vietnam’s southern metropolis.
Beginning as a chronicler of the lives of the lives and struggles of the rural and urban poor of Saigon and the surrounding Mekong Delta, Katy’s works have increasingly begun to witness the artist focusing her lens towards the domestic milieu around her. The most recent fourteen paintings that comprise her Inner Bliss collection are primarily irenic family scenes that suffuse the viewer with the warmth and bonhomie that they radiate.
Katy’s ability to use her prodigious technical skills to great effect have never been more apparent than in the heightened realism at display in her latest works. She says, “The series of paintings that I have made since 2019 are my best to date. When my technique was still ‘young,’ there were certain visual and academic things that limited me. I needed to paint, to read, to be sensitive and get by hurt by life; all these factors were absorbed and created the reserve of compassion to make this collection.”
Among the paintings of the new collection, “Happy Life” stands out as a particular example of the technical excellence Katy displays in her work. The sleeping young child and the dog nestling against her are rendered with characteristic near photographic clarity. The painting is the work of an artist who is a true master of all elements of her craft. Katy’s process is deliberative but is not overly intellectual. Her depictions are fulsome and narratively rich but they are neither pedantic nor overly complex.
Of her process, Katy says, “Before I used trowels to paint which was more simple and less time-consuming due to the spontaneity of the tools which create many nice effects by themselves. However, I used brushes for this collection which took me more time. It demands subtle observation of colors, light and shadow of eyes, cleverness of the hand and the emotions of the heart. All of these must be combined in harmony and unity every day in the process of making the paintings. The hardest part is to have patience when waiting to see the final results because I paint without doing sketches in advance.”
While she cites a great admiration for the painters of the European Renaissance, Katy says she was quite gratified to realize that she shared an “art language” with the great American illustrator and painter of the 20th century Norman Rockwell. The comparison has been made before and is worthy of interrogation. Like Rockwell, Katy’s paintings might be called a form of “nostalgic realism” and generally evidence a sense of humor and playfulness. She does this while avoiding the pit of cliché and sentimentality.
Artistically, Katy affirms that she approaches each day of painting with “eagerness and exhilaration”. She says, “I am on a journey to discover my art’s spirit and am amazed every day. When I finish a painting, I feel that I want to improve on the next one. After twenty years, I am still on the lookout for my best work.” Katy’s talent and her determination give rise to the conviction that she will be delighting the art public with outstanding work for many years to come.
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