Johor-born Teo Kim Liong studied both Western paintings at NAFA and obtained an Honours degree in Physics from the University of Singapore in the 1950s and 1960s. With a career in various managerial positions in marketing and engineering, Teo embarked on full-time painting at the age of 56. His artistic works combine both the European practice of outdoor painting with the Nanyang sojourner’s pursuit of inspiration. From Singapore and the region to China and Western countries, Teo’s landscape repertoire is a diary of his practice and travels.
Teo often practices oil painting on-site to capture finer points of light and contours in the visible spectrum for the scene before him. Vacant Homes is a powerful work of an alleyway of old houses. The artist tinges the walls in a pale yellow, suggesting not only the worn state of these structures but also the way they beam under the hot sun. Interspersed through the canvas are trees encroaching on the buildings and their surroundings, giving them an almost majestic look. This work attests to Teo’s advanced control of the medium.