Wall of Musing
Mural... musing on my wall presents Raymond Lau's prolific
recent series of paintings, most of them produced since his last solo show in 2002. The 30 odd paintings showcased have all
been inspired by the urban landscape in Singapore.
In this new series, Raymond questions the originality of
his works. Remembering his student years at LaSalle when he felt insecure about finding his own style, he explains that his
realistic style was inspired by the Masters as well as the nostalgia of shophouses. His favorite subject is a tribute to his
Grandmother who raised him and would bring him along to her friend's places. From those places, he recalls specific smells,
people, food and environments.
The best early advisor that led him to his originality is
probably a classmate who told him at the time "Don't care about what others way, you know, I'm not able to do what you
Gaining confidence in his talent and a consciousness that
being an artist is a contribution to society, Raymond never gave up painting and concentrated on work. Hardworking, determined
to progress and even challenge himself, Raymond is developing in this series a semi-abstract style whose inspiration can be
traced back to 1991 when Raymond started to represent walls, looking at their textures very carefully.
Window Speak, painted
in 1992, we can find the first example of representation where texture is more important and has more to say than the subject
itself. Developing further on some previous work, this time Raymond wants to break away from the use of figurative themes.
wall is not the subject anymore but becomes a pretext for abstraction of reality, sometimes humoristic. What we see through
Raymond's representation may be different for each of us. The colored surface invites the viewer to let his imagination run
and guess a fishing pond, a green field, a lake with birds flying over or a desert in Fishing For Peace; a green land
during spring with a cherry tree in Urban Rooftop; a bunch of flowers in Wall Series II; birds waiting on
an electric wire behind a house in Scaffolding; a stormy sea in Blue Recall or the reflection of a building
on water in Distant View...
would like to borrow here the words of French Poet Henri Michaud who gives a very striking explanation of this process about
his friend Chinese-French Master Zao Wuo-Ki:
"revealing while disassembling, breaking the direct line or making it tremble, musing and tracin the detours of
the rambling and the spidery scrawl of the dreaming mind, that is what Zao Wuo Ki loves, and suddenly, with the same festive
air that enlivens Chinese villages and country scenes, the picture appears, quivering joyfully and somewhat comically in an
orchard of signs."
Remembering the award-winning Echoes of the Window
produced in 1993, Raymond acknowledges painting today with a more versatile, spontaneous and free style embodying references
to Chinese painting: washed-out and light colors, strokes and black lines. It is Chinese painting style with Western media.
Maybe Zao Wou-Ki(Beijing, 1921) wouldn't deny certain similarities of expression with Raymond's sweeping colors and enlightened
strokes. As the Master says:
"I believe that all painters are realists for themselves.
They are abstract for other people". Zao Wou-Ki2
Studio neighbor and considered as artistic godfather, Tan
Swie Hian is often quoted by Raymond Lau who keeps acknowledging his critics and advises.
The new series is a testimony
of Raymond Lau's ability to absorb new knowledge in his paintings and to challenge himself to make his style evolve. "If
a painting is perfect, this is the end, there is no more experiment", says Raymond.
Because Raymond has benefited from the support of different individuals
and institutions, his wish is to give back this support in return, through a foundation for artists of different fields so
that they can also continue the challenge.
1. In his foreword to Zao Wuo-Ki's exhibition, in 1952
2. In the second volume of Georges Charbonnier's Monologue du Peintre