Procession of the slightly mad
Brian Uhing and S-Ann Ch’i

Procession of the slightly mad

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee (The Philippine Star) - April 29, 2021 - 12:00am

During the Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction on Oct. 6, 2019, Brian Uhing’s “Phone with Girl in Red (Girl in Red with Phone)” sold for US$ 175,244. His record at Sotheby’s was for another painting, “The Plight of Lady Vanity,” which sold at US$ 207,626. These prices prove that his works are sought after internationally.

The painting of that girl with a phone would undoubtedly be one of those pieces that would be coveted by local art collectors. It was inspired by his daughter, Mia, who was 18 at the time. Brian says, “Mia, like the rest of her generation, carries her phone around like an appendage.”

He adds, “As the title hints, the girl has been delegated to being nothing but a backdrop as the real subject of the art piece is the phone, which documents her and the scene, and by doing so gives the situation meaning and value. There’s a slice of cake, but no fork to eat it with, which further exposes the farce, a couple of roses are strewn at her feet, as offering to a life not truly experienced.”

There is good news for local collectors who cannot own that coveted painting.  Brian will release a sculpture based on it. “Phone with a Girl” will be limited to 25 pieces only and will be available at the Art Verité booth for the upcoming (and first time online) Art Fair Philippines from May 6 to 15.

This is his second limited-edition sculpture to be released.   His first one was sold out and based on his painting “The Beekeeper,” which also sold at Sotheby’s in 2016 for US$145,080.

Brian was born in 1975 and signs his works as “Bruihn,” a forced combination of his first and last name.  Uhing (pronounced you-wing) is of German descent and people can’t seem to pronounce it correctly, so he opted for Bruihn, which is pronounced as it is spelled.  “Plus, bruin in Dutch means ‘bear,’ an animal I associate with,” he adds.??

His work is very traditional, leaning towards the classical Flemish and Venetian style of painting combined with surrealism.  He paints the image not just for the sake of being fanciful and strange but tries to run a narrative through his work.??

S-Ann Ch’i is his equally talented wife born in 1977. S-Ann is derived from her actual name but she added “Ch’I,” which in Chinese philosophy means “life force” or “energy flow,” a principle that she feels best describes her approach to painting and her personal life.

Her art process/style is “Gestural Abstraction.” The act of creation demands that she literally works around and inside the painting; the process involves the application of intuition, experimentation, her personal expressions, and improvisational decision-making.  She has to “work with the natural forces of gravity for each drop, pour, flow, and splash of paint onto the canvas and the finished piece is an assemblage of gestures that evokes a sensation from the viewer.”?

S-Ann Ch’i is not only an artist; she is a biomedical scientist and philanthropist as well, having supported both government and non-government local and international charitable institutions since 1998. She established the “S-Ann Ch’i Toy Libraries” project, several (there are currently 18 operating) public community-based toy libraries wherein children of a certain barangay can borrow books and toys for free. This project is designed to support children’s development and promote learning through play.

The kindhearted artist also created S-Ann Ch’i Scholars, which gives assistance to underprivileged children. If anyone is interested in helping out the scholars or donating books you may no longer need for libraries, please message S-Ann at her Facebook page @S-Ann Ch’i or @sann-chi on Instagram.  Brian’s Instagram account is @officialbrianuhing.

Catch “Procession of the Slightly Mad,” the online two-man show of the husband-and-wife team at the Art Verité booth during Art Fair Philippines 2021. Check out http://artverite.net or www.artfairphilippines.com.


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Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.

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