Painter Lee Sah Yang is an alumnus of NAFA. He spent time abroad in Paris, where he practiced Western painting. His academic training was quintessential of the early generation of art students in NAFA. Drawing and painting in the studio developed through observation and a keen eye for distinctive subject matter. As a member of the renowned Singapore Art Society, Li also took part in several exhibitions held by the society through the years, winning a Dr Tan Tsze Chor Distinction Prize in 1998 for his work.
Made in 1997, this work was executed in pastel. The subject is keenly academic, showing a nude in an extraordinary angle, clearly postured to challenge the artist. Fidelity to form allows the artist to shape the body both with light and colour, revealing skilful renderings of the muscle tone and flesh. The eaten apple was likely a snack of the live model, who would have had to be in pose for several hours. Of great interest is the abstracted background: the removal of any true context creates a remote, clinical space in which the apple and the model are depicted, reinforcing the academic nature of the work, devoid of emotive response, as all still-life works usually are. The sensibility invoked is both one of study and one of curiosity.