In Sisters (Lot 367), Cheong revisits a favorite form of composition with two ladies taking centre stage in the midst of an everyday activity. An artist to constantly find, and successfully convey the beauty and elegance in simple gestures and quiet moments, Sisters is a triumphant example of the type.
For Cheong, art was not to be fetishized by the image, but should also be appreciated as a physical object from the quality of the canvas and materials of construction, to the means of mounting the work, and to the design of the frame itself. The shaped canvas of Sisters, laid down and nailed to a shaped board, makes it an incredibly rare work displaying once again Cheong’s ceaseless desire to experiment and innovate with new forms of visual presentation. The shaped canvas allows the scene to be viewed even more as a window onto the idyllic clearing where the ladies are seated, and enhances the private nature of the moment, as if we were privileged observers of an undisturbed scene.
Cheong’s works from the late 1970s to the early 1980s emanate a stillness and peace stemming from the harmony of his composition, his subtle and complementary palette, and the exquisite fineness of his brush. Rooted firmly in Chinese philosophies of balance and flow, and executed confidently in Western mediums and modes of presentation, Cheong remained up till the end of his life, a tireless master of his craft.