撒一團粗粗細細的線索 A Burst of Powerful Lines

單看那歪歪斜斜、充滿噴灑張力又入「紙」三分的畫,我們很難將沉默寡言又身材清瘦的莊嘉強聯繫在一起。 莊嘉強可是一個悶騷型的畫家。

認識嘉強是在1996年「南洋民間文化」舉辦幻燈片欣賞會的時候。建築系在籍學生熱忱於校外的文化藝術活動,是十分難得的。他後來成為這團體的中堅份子,共同策劃多項的活動,同時也展現了多方面的才華與能力。

嘉強的繪畫創造性在中學就已遠遠超出同齡學生,甚至比許多畫家更具職業水準。除了繪畫,才氣橫溢的他也善書法、攝影和平面設計。 老檳城素描是嘉強眾多黑白速寫體裁之一。從小住在喬治市坡底的他,對老檳城有份難以割捨的記憶和關懷。近年市區發展變化頗大,他更加緊速度在街頭巷尾速寫。

不過嘉強的素描不是對老街景物寫實的記錄,而是一種有感情的創作。所謂曲則有情,水平垂直的建築物經過誇張的變形,皆成了有情之景。
他的素描像是對某一街角或建築物一角撒一團粗粗細細的線索,然後深情地纏抱,以致景物變形得有情有趣,令人感動。

另一方面,他的畫除了是線條網的迸發揮灑,也是黑與白的高速對話。虛與實、動與靜或緊與馳,都在不假思索同時著墨又留白出來;其中留白在嘉強的畫中更是具空間的重量。

這幾年,嘉強已累積足夠的檳城素描,是時候讓大家分享,也讓人透過他的眼和手認識老檳城。我衷心祝他這次的個人畫展和作品集的出版圓滿成功。

陳耀威 • 檳城

Those lines in graphite may look askew and awry, yet they are so bold, powerful and penetrating making you wonder if they are really by the hand of the quiet, shy and skinny Ch’ng Kiah Kiean.

When you come to know Kiah Kiean better, you will discover a volcano of artistic passion and creativity right beneath his gentle demeanour.
I first met Kiah Kiean in 1996 in a public slide show organised by Nanyang Folk Culture, a local cultural group of which I was a key player. It was quite a pleasure to see an architecture student coming out of the campus walls to take part in arts and cultural activities. Soon after that, he became a stalwart of the group and together we organised many arts and cultural activities in which his multi-faceted talent and ability were brought into play.

Since high school days, Kiah Kiean’s creativity in painting had already surpassed that of his peers and even many artists who boasted to be professional. Besides painting, he is also adept at calligraphy, photography and graphic design.

The old Penang is one of the major themes of Kiah Kiean’s sketches. Born and bred in George Town, he has fond memories of and a strong love and concern for the heritage of the city. In the recent years, as development has caused much damage to the old cityscape, he walked the streets even more frequently in order to preserve the disappearing street scenes and buildings in his sketch book.

But Kiah Kiean’s sketches are not direct, realist representations of the old buildings and street scenes of George Town. They are always imbued with his passion and affection toward his home city. By representing the buildings and street scenes with a twist, he is in effect expressing his affectionate impressions of his subjects.

In the sketches, Kiah Kiean embraces his subjects, be they buildings or street scenes, with strokes of thick and thin lines in so powerful a manner that the subjects are somehow twisted. Such an affectionate embrace of his subjects is always interesting and very often touching.
Not only being a burst of powerful lines, Kiah Kiean’s sketches are also a lively dialogue in black and white. The abstract and the concrete, the dynamic and the static, and the tense and the lax can always find their dialectic spaces in the visual dialogue, in which the spaces left blank always have a weight.

Now, having captured so many images of George Town with his graphite pencil, it is time for Kiah Kiean to share with the world his love for the heritage city. With all my heart, I wish his solo exhibition and the publication of his sketches collection a great success.

Tan Yeow Wooi • Penang

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