Gordon Cheung… uses everyday information from pages of the financial times to pixels on computer screen. Alludes to virtual paintings… part digitised and part analogue copies and collages of existing paintings… corrupting images. Referencing breakdown of image and instability of the screen… often uses glitch as a metaphor in his work. Often uses prescribed images of perfection… references unsustainable global markets, political power struggles, and slippages in human condition.
Unpack and make notes as you read: Colart Loved By: Gordon Cheung
Cheung was born 1975) and is a London based artist. His work has… ‘… Spiritual undertones are balanced alongside familiar contemporary images including sources from popular media, cyberspace, nature, graffiti, kitsch, and historical painting...’ Loved by Gordon Cheung (s.d.) At: https://www.colart.com/en/loved-by/gordon-cheung/ (Accessed 29/01/2021).
Jan 2018 Gordon Cheung ColArts Film – Directed by Storyfire
This was a great little video and gave a real sense of the artist and his methods, much better than the written text. He went to St Martin’s and when he came out set himself the task of painting without paint. So he substituted newspaper for paint by sticking/squishing it together (almost like turning wool into thread but instead of knitting it he layered it together)… he then created patterns and structures from his paper/wood material that almost looked like he’d turned it back into wood.
He then allowed paint back into his practice as a collage element… dripping paint mixed with glue onto a shiny surface which he then tilted, allowed to dry, and peeled off. He also incorporates sand and crackle paste into is paintings, and masks out areas with spray paint – spraying sanded textures from different directions to give them an iridescent quality.
Cheung he is an artist because he loves making art, and he has some great advice for art students… Nurture the core reasons for making art and hang on to it.
The core reason I make art is because it is fun and I enjoy it. It sets me free and is like flying.
Looking at his work over a wider canvas of a bigger internet search… auctions… galleries and his website, it looks like there is a large craft (high skill) element in his work. He also produces many works which are commercial rather than conceptual, and yet the galleries and auction house sell his work conceptually.
It’s not a value judgement as he is producing a commodity but it is a glitch between his brand and the reality of his work.
Although some of his work is unconventional and non figurative, especially the backgrounds, this communicates more as a surreal beauty than a comment on the breakdown of the image, mass culture, or global economic instability. Rather the backgrounds are an aesthetic enhancement of the image/sculpture… more cyborg that political activist… whatever the text wrapped around them by the people who are selling his work.
To me Gordon Cheung, Jan Davidsz. De Heem I (New Order), 2014 featured below looks like a print of a Dutch masterpiece that has been worked into to create a newly/change/enhanced aesthetic and not… ‘… comments on the state of the global economy and contemporary culture by distilling the sense of anxiety and chaos in his pictures…’ Takahashi, L. (2013) Gordon Cheung’s Review of the Year – Jackson’s Art Blog. At: https://www.jacksonsart.com/blog/2013/12/11/gordon-cheungs-review-of-the-year/ (Accessed 29/01/2021).
Gordon Cheung, Jan Davidsz. De Heem I (New Order), 2014
There is an interesting article in jackson Art: Takahashi, L. (2013) Gordon Cheung’s Review of the Year – Jackson’s Art Blog. At: https://www.jacksonsart.com/blog/2013/12/11/gordon-cheungs-review-of-the-year/ (Accessed 29/01/2021).
Looking at his ‘Loved By’ video, researching the internet and reading his Jackson review I would say he is a passionate artist led by his materials and a joy of making dressed (I assume by the galleries, critics and auction houses) in the conceptual clothes of global concern. Far from distilling global anxiety his cyborg creations create a powerful new aesthetic.
I can find nothing about his use of digital technology and manipulation pixels mentioned in the introduction, or any sense of a ‘glitch’. His paintings are aesthetically complete without any short lived faults flashing across the canvas.
Suddenly, painting oil with a brush on canvas feels like it is a tiny backwater of the artistic possibilities open to me. The problem is it’s like somebody taking you up in a spacecraft and saying you can live anywhere on that little blue planet. You can’t possibly explore every town, every city, every society… you have to travel a little bit and then settle… maybe with holidays… and if you’re young enough and you don’t like where you are you can emigrate.
I’m not young but I shall venture forth and try and find as many new experiences (materials/techniques) as I can and bring them home.
This course is like a mini holiday taking me out into the world of materials far away from my tiny island of paint and brush. I can’t go everywhere so just like the holiday brochure I’ll have to pick… but now is the time to travel.