Join artist and master book designer W.H. Chong for a talk in association with his exhibition "Everything Changes" at Lone Goat Gallery.
The old sages didn’t fool around.
Here is a triplet of Buddhist sayings, with a killer punch line.
1) Everything changes.
2) Anything can happen at any time.
3) No one is exempt.
These ideas of change and inevitability underlie this exhibition.
We can all draw from ancient roots if we want to — whether we are writing a song or cooking a meal. Old traditions can be transformed — are always being transformed — and itself be the transformative idea, a trigger to new iterations.
In this group of works I drew from the deep well of Chinese art traditions: the understanding of the intangible quality of art — its “spirit”, the ancient abstractions of Chinese calligraphy, the deployment of the void as integral to the image, the individual hand making distinctive marks.
The themes are change, exile and freedom. Words (Chinese characters, English script) are transformed into near illegible marks: abstract expressions. Exile, well, there is exile in the pictures. And to quote Willem de Kooning, ‘Art is about freedom’ — from convention, fashion and dogma. (Freedom to include bananas and Daruma!)
But painters firstly paint for pleasure and joy, so I hope those feelings come through.
W. H. Chong is an artist and a book designer. He is one of Australia’s foremost cover designers, winner of multiple awards, and is an inductee in the Book Designers Hall of Fame.
He is well known for his portrait drawings of writers and artists — his near life-size portrait of novelist Michelle de Kretser is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. His art is often seen on books, gracing over 100 covers of Australian literature in the Text Classics series.
He has written art reviews and columns on culture for Crikey and Daily Review.
He resides in Melbourne.
Lone Goat Gallery
28 Lawson Street,
New South Wales,