"In modern painting, you must have your own style. To change the traditional methods of the past is to be modern. You don't have to paint in a very abstract manner to be modern. I think I am modern, but what I paint is not. There are still lines and discernible images in my works. Recently, an Abstractionist held an exhibition here. After he left, he wrote me a letter commending me and saying, 'You don't have to change the way you paint. I am the one who needs to change.' Ordinary folks don't understand what he was painting. As a painter, you don't necessarily have to let others understand, you only need to paint well."
CHEN WEN HSI CITED IN Convergences: Chen Wen Hsi Centennial Exhibition, SINGAPORE ART MUSEUM, 2006, P. 84.
Houses Along the Boat Quay perfectly exemplifies Chen Wen Hsi's perception of interpreting the Modern and Post-Modern movements of his time and making them entirely his own. Fragmented into bamboo-like composition, this vista of Boat Quay is reduced to its very essence: lines that correspond with the structure and architecture of the time; colour planes that are vaguely reminiscent of those in the roofs and walls along the riverscape. Geometric planes recall reflections that are usually found on the water surface. Chen Wen Hsi's paintings are beautiful in the way they evoke memories, no matter how fragmented or elusive, because their essence is not in their form, but in the emotion and sensation they conjure.
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