Born in Malaysia in 1968, Lim Ah Cheng earned a diploma in the Malaysia Institute of Art(Kuala Lumpur). He then went on to study at the Tatsun Studio in Illustration. Certification in Com in Malaysia and finally under tutelage of Mr Chong Chen Chuan, Chairman of Calligraphy. Lim Ah Cheng's oeuvre of paintings of wild horses, dancers and musicians draw much parallel to the works of Chinese ink masters like Xu Beihong. He employs a highly 'fluid' style that is reminiscent of Chinese ink painting, but uses it with western media such as oils and acrylics. This merger of East and West techniques, coupled with Fauvist and Futurist influences found within the use of vibrant colours and emphasis on capturing speed and movement, give his work a sense of universal appeal. His subject matter is not isolated to things of the oriental, but is global and progressive in perspective. Previously, he captured the grandeur of the orchestra performing. Today, the main subject matter that Lim employs is that of a horse, as he appreciates them for their strength, beauty and poetic movement, and aspires to bring out their spirituality in his works.
Loose and expressive brushwork is aptly used to capture the speed and gracefulness of the horse's movement. This is complemented with the colors that he employs, of deep blacks contrasted against hues of yellow and brown. His "Metamorphosis" series carries this subject matter one step further, using horses as a platform to offering an introspective exploration of his personal childhood memories. Having a take on social commentary, Lim's "Limited Edition" series uses geometric and mathematical elements to espouse on the materialistic pursuits of people today. These new explorations however, do not detract from the main characteristics of Lim's paintings - of majesty, elegance and power.
For the past 17 years, horses have been a predominant subject matter on Lim's canvases. In his most recent series, Lim pursues a more introspective tone in his art, reflecting personal insights through the use of graphic elements such as 'Roman Numbering', 'Folded Paper Planes' and other geometrical forms. He integrates this element with his perennial motif of horses to create the "Metamorphosis" series.
This series focuses on his new introspective exploration with a major part of the exhibition using various horses in motion and are aptly titled "Horses and Dreams". Folded paper planes play another major role. It is reflective of memories drawn from Lim's childhood where the planes, with written thoughts encompassed in them, become a symbolic expression for an individual's hopes and dreams. Combined with the element of the horse, these contemporary paintings, emphasises the idea of speed creating a visual feast of expression.
"Limited Edition" Series
The "Limited Edition" series is an exploration of contemporary society's constant demand for the accumulation of material possessions. This is most expressed in Lim's use of the Roman numerals and efficiently expressed through his painting technique.
Lim uses acrylic paint with Chinese ink in a flurry of brushstrokes. This divergence from the traditional norms of medium usage creates a fascinating play of layers, space and light concluding in an intensely contemporary feel.
In his more recent works, Lim develops the uses of geometric shapes such as lines, squares, triangles explored in a contemporary calligraphic style. Again, he integrates his traditional subject of the horse onto the canvas and the result of that is an expressive work that allows the vital energy of the motif to transpose onto the canvas.