This began as a pencil sketch of a young man posing at a life-painting session at the Toronto School of Art, at the old location in March 2012. Early 2014 I dripped, splashed and brushed inks over the canvas and gave his defining shadow a bit of darkening colour. In the last few weeks I have added more layers with a dip pen and words, Spring words, fertile words, words of resilience, opulences that rise and burst with joy. He is visionary man embedded in an ecology where vegetative Nature and human Nature share an imagination that can be actualized in a coherence, a stability.
And the auras.... biofields ecofields of energy. Photons dance.
An Artistic Dialogue on Inner Cultural Borders: Paintings by Erik Chong at Urban Gallery
by Brenda Clews December 8, 2014
Erik Chong, in his show at Urban Gallery, 'Shifting Borders: Seen and Unseen,' uses Chinese calligraphy techniques on rice paper to create minimalist modern urban paintings. Many are imbued
with geometries of the city that remind one of rhythms of a Mondrian filtered through a colour field sensibility that has the presence of an Olitski. They also echo Chinese tradition in their colours and simplified geometric landscapes. ‘Sunset On The Roof (Cityscape Series)’ shows both of these elements along with Chong’s signature brushstroke, a grid painted painstakingly by hand with a bamboo brush and Sumi ink. While his paintings have a stark purity, the blacks and vermillions and golds are sumptuous and rich, and the grids that form many of the paintings are nuanced, like threads interweaving in a loose burlap material through which light shines and in which we find
various sheens of washes, greys, muted vermillion, faded yellows. These grids are organic, drawn by hand, and yet are set within rigid geometries and the stark square and rectangular borders of the frames. The sense of cloth, another echo of a strong Chinese tradition, is also found in paintings like, ‘Emperor’s Cloth,’ a large textured painting of gold gouache where Chong worked the paper with the wet brush until he achieved a type of repetition not unlike a grid in the way the paper shrank and expanded in puckers until it became a chromatic field of texture. Many of the paintings remind me of the city at night and in fact one carries that title, ‘City at Night,’ and it was interesting to overhear that the rhythms of the city in Chong’s paintings are drawn in part from his experience as a driving instructor. Buildings and their
lights subtlety imbue the room of Sumi blacks and bright Chinese reds, of sunsets and dreamscapes, of a natural landscape of light and dark, of the sun and skies of lucid darkness amid cityscapes alive with their own grid patterns of electrical inner light.
‘Shifting Borders: Seen and Unseen,' paintings by Toronto artist, Erik Chong, runs from December 4, 2014 to January 10, 2015 at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East, Monday-Saturday 11AM - 5PM, Thursdays 11AM - 8PM. Do phone as the doors are sometimes not open during Gallery hours: 647-460-1278. urbangallery.ca
From Urban Gallery’s website:
SHIFTING BORDERS: SEEN AND UNSEEN: Abstract paintings with hidden images somewhat resembling architectural blueprints, which experiment with geometric and chromatic patterns. The artist’s intention is to force the viewers to question perspective as well as the creative process itself.
ARTIST STATEMENT: The ancient practice of Chinese calligraphy continues to inspire me to push the boundaries into new forms. I use a repetitive brushstroke technique that sometimes carries my paintings to the verge of
abstraction. Unlike many of my contemporaries, my appropriation of calligraphy does not simply romanticize the past – rather my creative process explores past, present and future by addressing subject matter both old and new. The purpose of my work is to offer a unique take on the evolution of cultural histories, narratives and identities -and to question these ideas both in a private, personal way and on a public scale.
In this exhibition we feature over 20 artists with over 40 pieces being displayed. We have sourced local, regional, and international talent to mount a widely diverse show!
I'd like to invite you to our opening reception on Friday December 5th. See details below.
This exhibition runs until December 20th
See you at the gallery!
December Art Salon and Holiday Sale
runs from December 5th until the 20th, 2014
Friday December 5th, 6:30-9:30
Join us in celebrating these artists and their work. Artists will be in attendance.
After the Reception: Some pics from the lovely Yellow House Gallery's Opening for the 'December Art Salon and Sale.' A full house. Paintings covering a wide spectrum of styles. The show is well worth seeing if you can get out to the east end.
The first pic is of Kristina, Gallery owner extraordinaire. That's me in the 2nd pic., taken when some Carollers came in and sang for a bit. It wasn't until I was ready to leave, after chatting with a number of artists for a few hours, that I remembered to take some pics, and by then there were so many people I couldn't get a shot of me own work. It's all good. Lol!
Adam Abbas hosted my final Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery this year on Saturday Nov. 29th from 3-5 PM EST. Talented, charming and ever-generous, thank you Adam for all the hard work you put into this Salon! Featured were Anna Veprinska, Dave Hurlow, Rasiqra Revulva, Neal Alexander Shroobacca Armstrong and Nyla Matuk. Thank you for such fine poetry and readings! Norman Bethune Allan, John Oughton, Areta M., and I also read on open mic. Adam arranged for the licenses and brought beer and wine. It was truly a wonderful afternoon! Many thanks to all who came out!!! xoxoxoxo
Anna Veprinska's new poetry collection Sew with Butterflies was released by Steel Bananas in 2014. She is a poet who is currently pursuing her PhD in English at York University, researching empathy in poetry. Her writing and photography can be found in various Canadian and British publications. She also plays the mandolin in the Toronto Mandolin Orchestra.
Dave Hurlow's first collection of short fiction Hate Letters from Buddhists was released by Steel Bananas in 2014. He is a Toronto-based writer and musician. He studied literature at King’s College in Halifax, and plays bass in the Toronto band The Darcys. Their second album Warring was released by Arts and Crafts in 2013.
Neal Armstrong is an artist and performer who splits his time between Toronto and the dream world.
Rasiqra Revulva is a Toronto-based writer, multi-media artist, editor, musician, and performer. She is a founding member of the synth-punk/electro/glitch/industrial music and visual art collective The Databats. Her writing has been published by The Incongruous Quarterly, Cordite Poetry Review, ditch,, The Feminist Wire, and The Quilliad; and exhibited at the 2014 PULP: paper art party, the 2014 BIG on Bloor Festival, and IMG Forums at Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts.
Nyla Matuk’s first full-length collection is Sumptuary Laws, published in 2012. A chapbook, Oneiric, appeared with Frog Hollow Press in 2009. Her poems have appeared in, or are forthcoming in, The Fiddlehead, The Walrus, Hazlitt, Canadian Notes and Queries, The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2012 and PN Review, among others. She was a finalist for the Walrus Poetry Prize and the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award.
Finally got around to photographing, cropping and whatnot the life-drawing session at Bampot Bohemian Teahouse on Oct 19th. Not terribly.... not. But, ok, let's post. The final drawing, which is the first here as they are in backwards order, was what keyed me into thinking, Why don't I take a little canvas for that last pose... (which is supposed to be 40min, though it's often a lot less than that because the break is a lot longer than the time allotted but I can insist that the model do the long pose right after break and then whatever short one might fill in to 5:30pm, yes I can).
You'll see my little canvas, which will be in a Group Show at Yellow House Gallery, in my next post, whenever that is.