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Grace Lim: Tell a story through interpretation

Artist paints her emotions, gives depth and meaning to her pieces


Each piece has a back story, an emotion felt that drove the painting. It may be a national devastation like Hurricane Katrina or something more individual, like a mother dealing with the loss of her son. But Grace Lim always gives her paintings a life, something she tries to capture with the piece.by: GARY ALLEN - Mixing cultures - Artist Grace Lim taught herself how to paint and is now featured internationally. Her exhibit, ‘When the East Wind Blows,' is on display at the Chehalem Cultural Center until May 23.

“I don’t have a traditional art degree, but I wanted so much to do art and had a lot inside me that can be expressed,” Lim said.

As a poet, she wanted another outlet to create and had always enjoyed the idea of painting. A few years later, she’s had exhibits in Malaysia, China, Korea and the United States. Her current show, “When the East Wind Blows,” at the Chehalem Cultural Center is special to her because it’s the first chance she’s had to display some of her earlier pieces.

“I came to see the exhibit of my friend (at the Studio Art Quilt Associates exhibit) and then I left a card with the reception. I said I’m an artist, so if they’re interested in my work they can give me a call,” Lim said. “The next day they call and ask if I have a couple of pieces I can show here in conjunction with the Camellia Festival and (were looking for) an artist with Asian Pacific background. That’s me.”

Although her earlier works are distinctively different from her new pieces, Lim has a clear style, something she took to heart when developing.

“I started to get rooted back to my culture,” she said. “I’m a Chinese descendent, Malaysian born, so who am I?”

She researched all the past, influential artists and saw they had a distinctive cultural background they pulled from. After some inner thought, she decided her roots were Chinese, and began to utilize those traditions in her pieces.

“I can’t do traditional Chinese painting because I’m not trained like that. I’m in the 21st century, I want to be myself and modern. But with the roots of the Eastern style of painting,” Lim said. “Now I’ve started to integrate more freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, but more modern and more contemporary.”

And the cultural sentiment plays a role. She uses Chinese calligraphy ink as well as western oil paints. Even those aspects have a deeper meaning to Lim.

“I believe that oil and ink can be mixed, so I started to explore. They repel each other but some of them merge close together and then repel,” she said. “To me I feel like anything in between — the contradictions of philosophy, or differences of mindset, or Eastern or Western — everybody lives on the Earth you see. The paining is such.”

She said she believes the impossible is possible, and that ideal is showcased within the pieces themselves.

“I want to bring something into the viewer’s eye that inspires them and also to convey the message that there are beautiful things that are sometime neglected or sometimes people say they have set rules, we can explore into the possibility of the unknown,” Lim said.

Lim’s work will be on display at the CCC until May 23.




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