標籤

Director Lu Yuguang

Diligence ●  Opportunity ● Inheritance

There was an old saying regarding the essential factors of success:  1. inheritance;   2. opportunity;   3. diligence.  Among these factors, the first two are gifts from the heaven; the last one requires one’s effort.  Nowadays, when we talk about success, we often emphasize on the amount of effort one has made, leaving us a false impression that once we have tried our best, it would be as much rewarding.  However, even one has made an effort; success may never materialize without a grab of opportunity at the right time.  By the same token, even one has taken a great opportunity and has worked hard, if inborn talents remain the missing factor, success would still be distant to one.  This is particularly true to artists.

I can see the energy of both diligence and inheritance in Nigel Szeto’s paintings.  Not many overseas artists can master imaging to such a high level of achievement like Nigel Szeto.  The artist’s maturity of imaging is grounded from his excellence of technique thorough years of experience, serious observation, as well as diligence.  His marvelous imaging abilities undoubtedly topped the art field overseas.  His drawing of animals, flowers and Hong Kong sceneries has reached a remarkable degree of proficiency as compared to fellow artists abroad.

What I want to talk about is, however, his natural gift.  In ancient time, inheritance of good qualities from ancestors was prominent importance.  As the old saying states, ‘one noble appears after three generations’, which shows how people in ancient time highly regarded inheritance of culture and superior genes from the ancestors.  In fact, Zhang Ailing’s case is one of the many cases of manifestation. Authors in China like Zhang have not gained attention till lately, yet their status in academy has eventually been highly ranked since then.  Needless to say, examples also include Wang Meng, Bada, Shi Tao, the three Su Father and sons.  Nigel is the son of the first successor of the Lingnan School, Szeto Kei.  At that time, Zhao Shaoang and Szeto Kei were two prominent figures of the Lingnan School overseas.  I can feel the supreme spirit of liveliness inherited emerged from Szeto Nigel’s paintings as compared to many paintings by others (indeed such a difference is obvious with objective comparison), which is so mysterious and occasional that can hardly be conveyed by words…

In the last century, there were few discussions in China about the study of inheritance by the Westerners.  It was somehow misunderstood that such discussions are about idealism or merely philosophy about pro-genius theory.  The lack of study into factors of one’s success with reference to physical, psychological, environmental aspects and the influence due to genetic heritage or the family are reasons why such study cannot be more scientific, or even anti-scientific.  Of course, I am not using Nigel Szeto’s case here as a proof of the effect of inheritance towards genius’ qualities, what I am saying is the involvement in art is better to have a talent than to begin with nothing.

I appreciable the landscape paintings of Nigel most.  They demonstrate confidence, unrestrained force, carefree character that let things to take their own course… they are full of spice!  Remarkably, his style of landscape painting is a rebellion against his paintings of flowers, birds and animals.  His landscape painting is modern in form, but without losing the traditions in a graceful manner.  The hazy dotting and paint-wash effect in Temple by the Temple Street, Kowloon is a result of inspiration from the Western style of painting, the Impressionism; the Spring in Aberdeen shows piers and barges in relaxing atmosphere through occasionally intertwining lines, which in turn also reveal the artist’s variation of emotion; Dakan Village in Diamond Hill is indeed an excellent piece of composition, with powerful brushwork forming a work of elegance and peace.  The artist’s recent works are a reflection of his enlightenment in past few years and a result marking his breakthrough, they are signs of sublime.  I wonder if the audiences agree with me or not?

I had met Nigel three to four times but we were both rushing this and that, missing a chance to sit peacefully and discuss in depth.  This time he invited me to have a brief introduction of his work in the country.  I highly appreciate Nigel Szeto’s hard work and his successful achievement in art.  May I congratulate him for every success in his exhibition!

Lu Yuguang

Director of the Guangzhou Fine Art Museum

(The article was written on 11th June, 1999)