Tsang Chui-mei's freer style of painting shows artist at her best

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 June, 2015, 6:34am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 June, 2015, 3:25pm

It is hard to believe Tsang Chui-mei has been painting for 20 years. In that time, she has experimented with subject matter and paint applications on canvas, but nothing too radical. Tsang is a committed, thoughtful painter and every brushstroke is controlled and deliberate.

In 2013, she undertook a residency organised by Mur Nomade gallery, with French artist Régis Gonzalez. The experience of working with another artist in a supportive environment without boundaries or expected outcomes is pivotal to her work now.

"Some Landscapes" is a fine, resolved exhibition that coalesces her previous 2012 "Grotto" exhibition with this freer post-2013 palette. In recent years, Tsang has included motifs such as bananas, wild floating vegetation, doorways, ladders, moths and windows placed in mountain landscapes and seascapes. These recurring motifs have been pared back to feature skylines of floating snowflakes/shards of glass and layers of bamboo in freefall in these new, highly worked and beautiful landscape paintings.

An element of the uncanny or the surreal in Tsang's paintings continues in this exhibition. It can be seen in Blaze, a painting of full vigour that depicts a volcanic eruption with fiery snowflake/glass/ash/cloud or, alternatively, as the bloody mood of a volatile personality.

One of Tsang's most beautiful paintings is a dreamy setting of foliage, flocks of birds and slashes of paint in a green valley and distant hills. This is a Dream, It Isn't Real is entirely truthful, but doesn't indicate she is one of Hong Kong's most accomplished painters.

Tsang Chui-mei: Some Landscapes, Grotto Fine Art. Until June 6