Singaporean artist Tan Seow Wei (b. 1979) works on a variety of mediums, primarily ink painting, printmaking and drawing. Seow Wei’s interest in art draws much influence from her father, who has taught her calligraphy and enrolled her in various art classes at a tender young age. Having picked up the Chinese Gongbi style of painting from local artist Mr Tan Seng Yong in her secondary school days, she went on to study ink painting and seal carving under the tutelage of Singapore’s renowned seal carving and ink masters Tan Kee Sek and Oh Chai Hoo respectively. With more than two decades of training on ink painting and calligraphy before embarking on her creative career, it is no surprise that ink painting forms the cornerstone of Seow Wei’s art practice.
Seeking a deeper connection with Chinese literary traditions, Tan Seow Wei first pursued a bachelor’s degree in Chinese Studies at the National University of Singapore. After a few years in the workforce, Tan was compelled to continue her artistic journey with fresh perspectives and new visual lexicons. She enrolled in LASALLE College of the Arts, eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Painting (2008). Tan’s explorations often involved examining her surroundings and in particular, people and plants. Her earlier works investigated human behaviour in “transparent” urban spaces, which later evolved to various aspects such as interpretations of dreams, documentations of personal memories and studies of human forms.
Tan Seow Wei’s fascination with the human form and psyche stretches to her series of dandelions from 2016 till today. A symbol of strength, these unassuming flowers have always been a source of inspiration for many, including the late renowned contemporary poet, Gu Cheng (Nameless Flowers) and songwriter Su Yunying (Wild Child), both whose works have struck a chord in her heart. In Tan’s works, the dandelions, unlike their usual organic shapes, are often jagged and angular, evoking a sense of resiliency and tenacity. The dainty flowers humbly embrace their fragility and thrive at their own pace, serving as a constant reminder to the artist and her viewers that every individual has his/her unique trajectory of growth. Like the muted colour palette that she employs, Tan’s works spin poetic, feminine and intimate narratives about herself and the space she lives in.
Tan Seow Wei has won several awards including the Siaw-Tao Outstanding Art Award in 2014, Winston Oh Travel Award in 2007, Georgette Chen Arts Scholarship in 2006 and Dr Tan Tsze Chor Art Award (Distinction) in 2003. She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions in England, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand. She currently lives and works in Singapore.
- 2008 | LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, Bachelor of Arts (Hons)
- 2002 | Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Certificate in Multimedia
- 2001 | National University of Singapore, Bachelor in Arts & Social Sciences
Selected Group Exhibitions
- 2021 | Flower, Not, iPreciation, Singapore
- 2013-19 | Siaw-Tao Chinese Seal Carving, Calligraphy & Painting Society Annual Exhibition, Singapore 2019 | Kindle, The Siaw-Tao Fundraising Exhibition, Visual Arts Centre, Singapore
- 2018 | Bon a Tirer, AC43 Gallery, Singapore Beckoning of the Breeze, Visual Arts Centre, Singapore / Dark Moments Naked Dog, Artsembly, Singapore / The Diasporic Brush – Modern Singaporean Art, Wolfson College (University of Cambridge), England / Spring Edition I, Artsembly, Singapore / Clay/Print, Artsembly, Singapore
- 2017 | Singapore-Japan Chinese Ink Painting Exchange Exhibition, Visual Arts Centre, Singapore / Impressions, Oriental Art and Cultural Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- 2016-17 Ini mini mini mo, Visual Arts Centre, Singapore 2015 | Run. Ran. Run. Instinc Gallery, Singapore
- 2011 | inFORMATION, Substation Gallery, Singapore
- 2010 | 1xSuitcase’, Meta House, Cambodia / 1xSuitcase’, Xi’an Textile City Art District Exhibition Center, China
- 2009 | 1xSuitcase’, Annexe Gallery, Kuala Lumpur / 1xSuitcase’, Chiang Mai University Art Centre, Thailand / Eniminiminimos, Esplanade Jendela, Singapore / Air Conditioned Recession: A Singapore Survey, VWFA, Singapore / Intrinsic, Esplanade Jendela, Singapore / 1x Suitcase, Alliance Francaise, Singapore
- 2008 | Website Launch of Singapore Contemporary Artists, Sculpture Square, Singapore / Go Figure, Fost Gallery, Singapore / LASALLE Degree Show 08, LASALLE, Singapore / At One @ Project Space, LASALLE, Singapore
- 2007 | Travelogue Practice, LASALLE, Singapore / Because it’s Happy Chaos, Esplanade Tunnel, Singapore / Fibre & Form, Eagle’s Dream Contemporary Works, Singapore / In Transitu: asmuchforyouasitisforus, LASALLE, Singapore / Out-of-Print @ Project Space, LASALLE, Singapore
- 2006 | First Lady on the Moon, La Libreria, Singapore
- 2005 | Groundwork V–Balik Kampung, LASALLE, Singapore
- 2002-2003 | Dr. Tan Tsze Chor Art Award Exhibition, Singapore
- 2014 | Siaw-Tao Outstanding Art Award 2007 | Winston Oh Travel Award 2005-2006 | Georgette Chen Scholarship 2003 | Dr. Tan Tsze Chor Art Award – Certificate of Distinction 2002 | Dr. Tan Tsze Chor Art Award – Highly Commended Certificate 1998 | Japan Pre-University Chinese Calligraphy Exhibition (Osaka) – Certificate of Merit
For full list of exhibitions and collections, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org.