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Bold New Works From McCahon Residency Revealed

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Bold New Works From McCahon Residency Revealed


It has been a busy year for Page Blackie Gallery artist Liyen Chong, selected for back to back artist residencies, firstly with The Sarjeant Gallery in Wanganui, followed closely by the McCahon House Residency in Auckland.

Page Blackie Gallery is proud to present Chong’s first public exhibition on the other side of these prestigious residencies. Chong’s new exhibition Dasein (Being There.) is the stunning outcome of this intense research period and is a credit to the exciting nature of the artists practice.

Chong’s striking new light box works will light up Page Blackie Gallery throughout August. These back – lit works will be accompanied by an exquisite series of photographic works which Chong has painted into. Chong’s confident and exciting use of materials reflects her training in both painting and design at the University of Canterbury where she gained her MFA in 2003. Widely recognised for her incredible work with hair embroidery, in 2010 Chong exhibited an impressive array of ceramic works with Page Blackie Gallery.

As Virginia Were notes in the latest issue of Art News “[Chong] skips happily, joyously between different media, but always returns to her ongoing interest in exploring understandings and ideas about consciousness and the self and how that self is mediated by the body.”

This latest exhibition presents an almost ritualistic series of photographs of the artist in her studio. Chong conceals and reveals certain aspects of her own identity through these images, creating a playful distance in which to explore constructions of the self.

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One of the ways she does this is by physically working onto the surface of several photographs with delicate embellishments (paint, gold and silver leaf). These additions mean the viewer is not able read the work as a purely personal examination, or as a self portrait. Calligraphic in nature, these marks also reflect Chong’s passion for Chinese Calligraphy, a practice she began exploring at a very young age.

In the way she visually explores presentation of the self as opposed to self- portraiture, as well as her exploration for the right creative medium or language to express herself, Chong is gently contributing to an ongoing conversation around identity for those sitting alongside a dominant culture.

The innovative direction Chong’s practice continues to forge in is a fascinating one. The momentum gained through undertaking these residencies is evident in this stunning new body of work, which confirms Chong’s position as one of New Zealand’s most exciting young artists.

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