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Buying art in Singapore: Readers share their recommendations

Discover how and where these art-lovers found their prized possessions, because – though a picture may paint a thousand words – only its owner can tell us exactly what he or she loves most about it.

 

The Australasian Arts Project

303 Tanglin Road

+65 97718974

gbbat@sprint.net.au

Linda Volker, Australia

We purchased seven beautiful paintings from the Project’s first exhibition: three by Lucky Morton and one by her sister Audrey, both from Utopia; one piece by Walala Tjapaltjarri, and two by Sally Perkins from Utopia, which have pride of place in our bedroom. Another two black-and-white works by Lucky and Audrey Morton were given to me by my two sons for Mother’s Day. They mean the world to me.

We first learnt about The Australasian Arts Project from Anna Layard of Layard Art Studio, who invited my husband and me to attend the opening night with her. We loved meeting and working with Gabrielle and Simone, who were both extremely helpful. It was refreshing to meet people who display such a passion for their work and immense knowledge of the subject. The way the paintings were displayed in Gabrielle’s gorgeous black-and-white home really brought them to life.

We love the vibrancy of the paintings and how each one tells a story. They are also a reminder of home – the incredible colours of the Australian landscape, and the uniqueness of it all. We are lucky to have a house with lots of white walls and high ceilings, and the paintings are hanging in almost every room of the house.


Arbor Paintings  

+65 6227 0082

www.arborpaintings.com

Jean and Martin Kniss, Hong Kong

My husband Martin and I are new parents of twin baby girls, and we’re grateful for the double blessing we have. However, like most full-time working parents in Asia, we don’t have the luxury of time to visit art galleries to select art pieces for the home.

Arbor Painting provides a wide selection of genuine pieces from which we can choose at our own convenience and we would highly recommend this reliable online gallery to busy professionals like us.

This artwork is by a renowned Burmese artist, and we have placed it in the foyer of our home, where we welcome family and friends. Those who have admired it say they like the warm colours used by the artist, and the skilful brushstrokes used to evoke where light and shadows fall. We have a preference for Asian-themed pieces and have a few in our home, but this is one of our favourites.

Diana Francis Studio  

Blk 43 Jalan Merah Saga

#03-76 The Workloft @ Chip Bee

www.dianafrancis.com

Donna Bales, Canada

I have two pieces of Diana Francis’s work. One, called First Catch, shows an early morning fisherman at Boat Quay against a backdrop of shophouses. The other is a commission titled A Star is Born, of the grand opening of The Cathay back in 1939. It was an exciting night: the premiere of a movie called Four Feathers held in Singapore’s first air-conditioned cinema, where one could watch a film in an armchair. Who said Gold Class was a new concept?

I met Diana through a mutual friend and artist at a dinner party about a year ago. Since then I have seen her work at small exhibitions at her gallery and at the American Club. In fact, it was at one of her exhibitions that I bought First Catch.

What first strikes you about her work is the mesmerising use of colour and textures, the way she layers the paint to create a mood. A Star is Born is something of a departure: to evoke the time of night, black and white predominate and colour is used only for effect.

First Catch hangs in my lounge, providing colour and lifting the atmosphere of an otherwise modern, monochromatic room. A Star is Born is in my dining area. The energy in Diana’s work reflects her personality. She is constantly expanding her creative repertoire, and you will be able to see her work at this year’s Sun Festival and through a range of merchandise focusing on Singapore heritage.

 

Gallery 278

278 River Valley Road

+65 6737 2322

www.gallery278.com

Trevor Seaman, Australia

I chanced upon Gallery 278 one day while walking down River Valley Road, went in and liked Richard Lim Han’s paintings. The gallery was very easy to deal with, and most helpful when I wanted to exchange one painting for another. Their guys also came and hung the painting for me.

Then I bought another of Richard’s paintings, also a scene of the Singapore River, and when it was delivered I thought it would be nice if it could be extended into two panels. But Richard said that the palette of colours would not match, so he offered to paint me another picture in two panels, each 1.5m long. I was a bit dubious having a painting done “on spec”, but the gallery said they would take it if I didn’t like it.

It is a wonderful scene of what the Singapore River was like forty years ago, full of colour and life. When I had my friends over to unveil it, they all had their photos taken in front of it. We all try to guess where it may have been. Part of it reminds us of Ang Siang Hill – but then it is supposed to be a river scene.

 

Gallery of Gnani Arts

#01-05 The Regent

One Cuscaden Road

+65 6725 3112

www.gnaniarts.com

Jacqueline Lobo, Australia

This work is an oil painting on canvas, with elements of fabric collage. It is one of an ongoing series by P Gnana, and bears the title Eternal Companion in Collage. I love its visual richness and symbolism, its sublime serenity, and the “greenie” in me loves the balance and relationship between the person, the animal and tree. That is how things in the world should be.

When I discovered the gallery a couple of years ago, I had already developed an interest in art and started collecting, in a small way, back in Australia. I seized the opportunity to explore styles of work different from what I was used to. Gallery owners Gnana and Vidhya are warm and generous people, who have become my friends. Gnana is the principal artist, and I am also drawn to the stable of artists the gallery represents, including many from South India, and I have acquired a few pieces from them. The gallery holds frequent exhibitions, always of something new and fabulous.

This work is currently in storage, as I live in a shoebox of an apartment that lacks wall space. Sadly, it will be a little while before I can appreciate Eternal Companion in Collage on a daily basis.

 

Living With Art

998 Toa Payoh North #02-08/09 

+65 6358 3672

www.livingwithart.com.sg

Ng Leng Leng, Greek, Lebanese and Singaporean

This painting, Wonders of Nature by Wang Miao, is a mixed-media piece specially created for the interior of our home. We stumbled upon the Living With Art gallery while searching online for customised art for our newly renovated apartment.

The whole experience of dealing with Living with Art was extremely warm and pleasant. Zak was very patient in helping us pick the right piece.

We were drawn to the beautiful, mysterious and abstract effect created by the artist’s unique use of acrylics, oils and lacquer. Displayed in the relaxation area where we do our work, read and play games, it is in the right place for us to admire it and be inspired to be creative in our own work.

 

 

Mariska Meijers

Online orders: www.webstore.mariskameijers.com

+65 9615 3764

www.mariskameijers.com

Marilisa Busatta, Italy

This smaller painting by Mariska Meijers, titled Mr Smith’s Ginger Jar, is oil and goldleaf on canvas, and the background stripes were inspired by Paul Smith. The larger one is an oil on canvas called Interior with Chinese Screen.

During summer 2009, I saw a painting by Mariska at a friend’s place in Paris – one of her colourful “parrot in a cage” series – so when a few months later I received an invitation to Mariska’s exhibition at Originals in Lock Road, I was delighted. I chatted to Mariska one day at Originals while she was preparing for the installation of her paintings, and we really clicked. I loved her personality: very open, enthusiastic and positive, just like her work. As my French husband was as enthusiastic as I was, we ended up buying both of these artworks.

We love their vivid colours, well-defined lines, and figurative subjects; a strongly Asian influence mixed with the craziness of the rainbow colour palette Mariska uses. In past times, still life paintings often had a sad side to them, almost “dead life”, or nature morte as they say in French. Mariskas paintings are the complete opposite; I love the constant flow of happiness and joy they send me whenever I look at them. And their perfection gives me a sense of order, of serenity; they actually calm me down.

 

Ode to Art  

252 North Bridge Road

#01-36E Raffles City Shopping Centre

+65 6250 1901

www.odetoart.com

Hari Kiran Vadlamani, India

I moved to Singapore about 18 months ago, but because I used to stay at Swissôtel the Stamford when I came here from Hyderabad on business, I got to know Ode to Art some time before that.

The gallery deals with and supports sculptors from countries such as China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Burma. The owner Jazz Chong and art consultant Pamela Ng are both warm and friendly people whom I love dealing with. Over a period of about six months, I have bought a number of artworks from them: four paintings and six sculptures, four of which are by Chinese sculptors.

This unit was originally bought as a bookshelf, but I realised it would work well to display sculptures of this size. The first (from top to bottom) is a bronze from Xie Ai Ge’s Frank series; the second is another bronze, from Ren Sihong’s Octagonal Hat Mao series; the third, of fibre resin, is from Gao Xiaowu’s City Dream series; and the fourth is a bronze by Wu Lian Yan, from his Singing To The Nation series.

As a collector, sculpture is my passion and my hobby, and I visit sculpture parks wherever I travel in the world. Back home in India, I have a collection of Indian sculpture, but when I moved here I decided to start collecting works from Southeast Asia and the Far East, to do something new and learn something new.

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