STATEMENT & BIO
My art shows a continuous exploration in how the subconscious leads the pen at the moment of creation while being faithful to the use of lines and shapes.
Erik Cheung (www.erikcheung.ca) is a master of lines. Both his abstracts and representational works share a linear quality that addresses grace, life moments, mortality and subconscious exploration. The diversity of lines is used as a depiction as well as an expressive means.
His art training followed the footsteps of the predecessors instead of practicing the norm. Pat Martin Bates, his professor in his final year at the University of Victoria understood that need and nurtured him to explore and assimilate in his personal pace. Over the years, he hopped from genres to another in art history as he developed his philosophy and outlook. Michelangelo, Monet, Schiele, Joan Mitchell were then, one after another, his models to learn from. And he always managed to grow out of each with a quality gained.
He was jury into the North Park Gallery exhibition upon graduation. Unfortunately, the relocation diverted him into an education career for 20 years in Hong Kong. During that time, he produced intermittently and exhibited on the side. The collectors’ market was not in boom and the art culture was not in favor. Being an art panel, he did expose himself to calligraphy and various disciplines of designs, which were later adapted and applied into his life size drawing and paintings afterwards.
Generous and steady income provided him an opportunity to travel every year with a teaching job. Expanding his worldly view, he traveled widely to catch glimpses of Quality art. That really completed his education.
He ended his teaching days and moved back to Canada for good in 2010. It was a time of physical change and so his art followed. While finishing up his huge spontaneous drawings, a transformation emerged. The shapes under his hand denote further implications than just being meaningless patches and semiotics on the picture plane. The works evolved into compositions on various subjects, of drunkenness, of flowers, of faith and of landscapes. Each is an assimilation of art elements and ethnic influences. During which time, he also tried a variety of presentations like collages, relief and glass paintings.
Eventually landing on a more stable day job in 2014, his art steadily crossed into the psychology study of art. Automatic Drawing was a century old idea about subconscious thoughts masterminding the drawing process. Erik explores the idea further with figures found among the lines. Like signatures, a line overlapping itself a few times in speed captures the aesthetic ingredients of space, balance, contrast and character. Abstraction is seen as a transitory stage.
As a gradual development, he resolved to drop the abstract notion and began to decipher figures in compositions from the haystack of lines in swift motion within seconds. The message from the psyche is a genuine out pour because no alterations were made in the process.
Erik is now residing in Edmonton. He received the 150 in 150 award in the visual arts category in 2017. His works have been sold to private collectors in the U.S., Canada, England and Hong Kong over the years.
pools meanings and provide directions to life, I believe. The door to this secret spot opens infrequently under the radar of the conscious mind. We could only tap into it through speed. My late adventure has been a study leading towards extracting emotional imagery from this source. Concealed messages are found within the preliminary subconscious lines which seem nonsense at first sight. I use scribbles as a key to open up this safe and steal unique representational imagery.
From automatic scribbles on the right to the finished product on the left, I do not render to make the images, I find them. Unlike others who seek a compromising whole as each work is developing, my compositions are finished within seconds, only to wait for cognitive aesthetic logic to enhance. My years of drawing experience show the most desirable choices along the way.