Award-winning artist Katie Cheung’s new exhibit Beyond Nature II opens Feb. 3 at the Art Beatus Gallery with a showing that features mixed media and acrylic on canvas paintings.
Born in Hong Kong, Cheung received her formal art education at Langara College and Emily Carr University of Art & Design after making Vancouver her home. The transition was an easy one.
“A newly found awareness and sheer enlightenment from encountering Vancouver’s many cultures widened the scope of my creative perception. It also enhanced my curiosity and acceptance of using different media,” says Cheung.
Mix & match multiculturalism
“I was originally trained in Chinese brush painting,” says Cheung of her style. “Langara’s Fine Arts program inspired me to try new techniques and combine them with early influences of Monet’s impressionism and Kandinsky’s abstract art.”
Later, her studies at Emily Carr University enabled her to learn how to assert herself as an artist.
“I found my voice and own expression. In many ways, mixed media reflects multiculturalism. Essentially, the picture demands the media,” Cheung says.
This is how, for Cheung, artistic expression and creativity become a process of intercultural discovery.
“It opens your eyes more, you see more, and you receive and understand more. It’s mix and match artistic freedom,” she says.
Cheung’s inspirations are mostly informed by daily happenings. The artist then follows whatever her heart dictates. Her love of gardening, for example, may prompt her to pick fruits or flowers as the subjects of her next work.
“The natural vibrancy of colours allows me to turn images into dream series, while the merging of my subconscious and non-subconscious minds motivates the progression of my works.”
No words to describe
“You could say that ‘scenery’ forms the background with ‘flowers’ as subject matter. My new works are further efforts to simplify. For example, you find translucent flower petals against a blue sky,” Cheung explains.
Ultimately, however, words are destined to fall short in describing a work of art as Cheung resists labels.
“I do not follow one certain painting method or style, nor do I wish to copy from real life. In short, I just want to paint and express myself freely on canvas, recording what is in my heart,” she says.
Bridging a divide
Cheung has also published Apple From My Heart: Paintings & Poems, a book which explores the complexities of intercultural creative processes and translations between artistic media and different cultures. The work features 34 faithfully reproduced paintings and six accompanying poems in Chinese and English from the critically acclaimed “Apple Series.” The “Apple Series” was previously featured at the Heffel Gallery, Teck Gallery, Hycroft Gallery, Sun Yat Sen Garden, and the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum. It is through this collection that Cheung first shared her artistic credo:
“Through my painting
I wish to transform the charm of art
Into the beauty of reality”
(excerpt from “Apple’s World”).
Beyond Nature II features new paintings in a recent series first shown in Hong Kong. The venue is perfectly suited to the project. Art Beatus Gallery, the first and only gallery to showcase contemporary artists on both sides of the Pacific, was founded in Hong Kong in 1992 and a second exhibition space was established in Vancouver soon thereafter in 1996.
For more information, visit www.artbeatus.com.