Evoking SEA: Richard Koh Fine Art

May 23, 2022 | Mel Peh

Committed to promoting Southeast Asian contemporary art, Richard Koh Fine Art (RKFA) represents artists mainly from or based in Southeast Asia, particularly from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Cambodia. The gallery was first founded in 2005 by Mr Richard Koh, holding spaces in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Singapore. Highly prizing the sophistication of the artist’s voice, the gallery opens its doors to a range of art styles and genres. Guided by their core belief in developing an artist’s career, RKFA identifies promising practices and provides opportunities for understated artists to flourish. We asked Mr Koh about the qualities they seek in their artists – and received an informed and generous response,

Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

‘There is a certain strand of DNA within the artists that we work with. They have an interesting artistic voice, humble, technically sound, and above all, committed in bringing their practices forward.’

RKFA believes that it is essential for artists to convey their ideas or have their interests expressed in a thought-provoking manner. Often, this process also allows the artists to demonstrate their command of the medium they work in.

Active Presence in the Regional and International Art Fair Circuit

Despite constraints brought by the pandemic, RKFA remains astoundingly active in their collaborative efforts with independent art and creative spaces across the SEA region. Just this January, several RKFA artists presented their works in The Back Room Shop pop-up store – a project organised in partnership with the Back Room KL in Malaysia. Penang-based Hasanul Isyraf Idris showcased his delicate brushwork and brilliantly contrasted paintings with several displays of gouache and acrylic on paper, whereas KL-based Justin Lim’s monochromatic digital prints appeals to both the eye and the associative mind.

Image Courtesy of Richard Koh Fine Art

Then, from 1 February to 31 May, a joint organisational effort between RKFA and Silapak Trotcheik Pneik (STP) by YK Art House saw the fruition of Cambodian artist Pen Robit’s solo exhibition. Held at Rosewood Phnom Penh Art Gallery in Cambodia, this four-month-long exhibition, titled “The Ontology of Form and Colour”, showcased 21 paintings in celebration of Robit’s practice and methods, each referencing a Khmer heritage in its use of medium.

Photo credited to ┬®STP Cambodia (Bun Chan)

Most recently, RKFA collaborated with the Art Centre Silpakorn University (Wangthapra) in Thailand to mount the solo exhibition of celebrated artist Natee Utarit, titled “When the Sun Rises in the West”. This on-going exhibition (4 March - 7 May 2022) showcases works from Utarit’s Déjà Vu series spanning 2019 - 2021 and highlights his virtuoso with variety of mediums employed in this body of work.

Before our parting, founder Mr Richard Koh expresses, “It is always satisfying to see understated practices receive due recognition and accolades from the art community. We are proud of the fact that several renowned regional artists had their first overseas solo exhibition with RKFA.” With such evident persistence in the gallery’s engagement of the art community and their aim of developing regional and intercultural dialogue, one can only look forward to what RKFA will bring us next with their regular exhibition cycles, print and digital publications and cross-border gallery collaborations.