Oi Nuen was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1956. She graduated from the London School of Economics in 1978 but left a career in accountancy to accompany her husband, a diplomat in the British foreign service, on a posting to Tokyo, where she discovered Sumie (Japanese brush painting). Over a series of postings in Japan spanning more than 30 years Oi Nuen studied Sumie under her teacher, Kisa Matsushita, along with a group of Matsushita’s students known as Group ’82.
Oi Nuen was immediately attracted to Sumie by its spontaneity. The more she painted, the more she became fascinated by the way the ink spreads across the paper (nijimi) and by the way a painting can be made up of strong lines, soft delicate lines, slow lines, quick lines, wet lines and dry lines. In her own words “what in the beginning to me was just black, uncontrollable ink became shades of black, grey, blue and then they ceased to be of a particular colour, the whole importance being the mood and atmosphere which a piece of work conveys”.
“Nijimi” continues to fascinate Oi Nuen. She painted for many years on Tokyo Gassenshi, a smooth white tissue like paper where the nijimi is predictable and controllable to a certain extent. But during a posting in New York, she started to paint on different papers from Nepal, India, China and Thailand. These were thick papers with texture and body. Nijimi on such papers was not predictable and therefore became a new experience. And then returning to Japan again, Oi Nuen was able to explore the use of different kinds of washi (Japanese paper) for Sumie.
But Oi Nuen wanted to take her exploration of paper further to find an even greater depth of expression and this led her to start experimenting with the layering technique which is the essence of the works in “damage and healing”.
Oi Nuen’s previous solo exhibitions have included “Sumi- e: Works on Paper” at the Murakami Gallery, Madison Avenue, New York (1996); Farnham Maltings Gallery (1999); “Colour of the Wind”, Skydoor, Aoyama, Tokyo (2001); and Genkan Gallery, Tokyo (2002). She has also exhibited at a number of group exhibitions over the years, including at Artbook London in Chelsea Harbour; Ki Gallery, King’s Road; Raffles Hotel in Singapore; New Grafton Gallery Barnes; and frequently at Northcote Gallery, Kings Road, where her works have been sold since 2006.
Oi Nuen’s works have also been selected for the finals of the Laing Art Competition at the Mall Galleries, London; the Hunting Art Prizes at the Royal College of Art; and the Singer & Friedlander/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition at the Mall Galleries.
Oi Nuen and her husband now live in Richmond, London, where she is still painting.
1956 born in Kuala Lumpur
1978 graduated from the L.S.E.
1979-82 studied Sumie (Japanese ink painting) with Reiko Kojima in Tokyo
1988-93, 99-2002 studied Sumie with Kisa Matsushita in Tokyo
1981 British Embassy, Tokyo
1996 Sumi-e, works on paper at Murakami Gallery, Madison Avenue, New York
1999 Oi Nuen Sprunt at Farnham Maltings Gallery, Farnham
2001 colour of the wind at Skydoor Artplace Aoyama, Tokyo
2002 Genkan Gallery, Tokyo
2012 DAMAGE AND HEALING featuring ShoutCryRoom at Asia House, London
1994 UN Group of Artists, United Nations, New York
1997 Laing Art Competition at Mall Galleries, London
1998 Works on Paper at Park Avenue Armoury, New York
2001 26th Japan International Art Exhibition at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum
Skydoor Small Works Exhibition Vol. 4 at Skydoor Artplace Aoyama, Tokyo
2005 Hunting Art Prizes at Royal College of Art, London
2006 Singer&Friedlander/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition at Mall Galleries, London
2017 Tricks of the Light, Riverside Gallery, Old Town Hall, Richmond
1990, 1992 Group ’82, F and F Shimin Gallery, Tokyo
1997 Artbook London, Chelsea Harbour
Summer Exhibition at KD Fine Art, Compton
Grayshott Gallery, Grayshott
1998-99 Ki Gallery, New Kings Road, London
The Flower Gallery, Chichester
KD Fine Art, Compton
1999 Gallery Shinkura, New Otani Hotel, Tokyo
2000 Group ’82, Ginza Syorou, Tokyo
2001-02 Artfolio, Raffles Hotel, Singapore
2004 New Grafton Gallery, London
2006-13 Northcote Gallery, Kings Road, London
2007 Shizen: Silent Spaces at Northcote Gallery, Kings Road
2009 Haku, Searching Within at Northcote Gallery, Kings Road
2010 ArtLondon, Affordable Art Fair with Northcote Gallery
2012 Rock, Paper, Scissors at Store Street Gallery
Art Alliance IV
2012 ART & HEALING with ShoutCryRoom at New Diorama Theatre, London
2014 Hollow Winter music video with singer/songwriter Sarah Hacking-Brian
2016-17 Lose Your Mind, Stables Gallery, Orleans House Gallery
2014-15 ShoutCryRoom in Paint & Ink, Just Add Water at Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur.