NEWS: Unit London: Stephen Wong
A ROAD TRIP IN GOOGLE EARTH: MULTNOMAH FALLS, USA, 2021
Platform: Online Exhibition
Until 13 September
Stephen Wong’s new body of work combines both realistic and imaginative depictions of scenery, focusing on his exploration of landscape painting. Since his usual painting process, consisting of long hikes and a sketchbook, has been affected by a global pandemic, Wong drew inspiration for his Platform series from his virtual travels in Google Earth. Wong was able to visit and paint various iconic locations worldwide such as the Dolomites, Mont Saint Michel, and Mount Fuji, without leaving his studio in Hong Kong. Envisioning the idea of a virtual road trip, Wong references his toy cars in the paintings, subtly placing them in each work for the viewer to find. In doing so, Wong transports the viewer as if they’re wandering within the painting themselves, as a sojourner embarked on a trip around the world.
Born in 1986, Stephen Wong Chun Hei is a Hong Kong based artist. He graduated from the Fine Art Department (CUHK) in 2008. Some solo exhibitions include ‘Stephen WONG Chun Hei: A Grand Tour in Google Earth’ at Gallery EXIT, Hong Kong, in 2021 and ‘Beside the City’, at Gallery EXIT, Hong Kong, in 2019. Some group exhibitions include ‘The Breath of Landscape’ at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, in 2019 and ‘These Painters’ Painters’ at ROH Projects, Jakarta, in 2018.
Wong’s paintings are collected by private collectors and institutions, such as Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Land and Swire.
According to Wong, “we have so many tools for capturing what we see in daily life, what I choose is a slow and subjective way of documentation.” Painting mostly through an amalgamation of travel photography, instinct and imagination, Wong created his own visual vocabulary. Recreating the spontaneity and painterly approach of plein air painters, Wong captures the effects of nature through bold weaving patterns of vibrant colours in short, precise strokes.
A ROAD TRIP IN GOOGLE EARTH: MOUNT FUJI, JAPAN, 2021
Characteristic of Wong’s artistic practice is the expressive palette, depicting an emotional sensitivity to colour and saturation that transmits intimate sensibilities, evoking notions of silence, introspection, wistful harmony, and a pure joy for life. Following an unsettling year, Wong’s body of work conveys a profound appreciation of nature and a sense of communion with the environment. This series also possesses a whimsical quality which materialised through Wong’s avid toy car collection. Envisioning the idea of a virtual road trip, Wong references his toy cars in the paintings, subtly placing them in each work for the viewer to find. In doing so, Wong transports the viewer as if they’re wandering within the painting themselves, as a sojourner embarked on a trip around the world. More than just renderings of his visual experiences, Wong’s paintings become moods, emotions and atmospheres incarnate; achieving a transcendent dual-existence between the world in which the artist creates versus the world he creates on canvas.