Crossing: Art, Heritage, and Personal Journeys
Andy Lou, 盛夏 Color of the West Coast, 2008, mixed media on rice paper

Crossing: Art, Heritage, and Personal Journeys

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, BC - Feb 10 - May 26

by Michael Turner

The word “crossing” carried in the title of this exhibition of Victoria-based artists Yumie Kono, Andy Lou and Chrystal Phan refers to their respective Asian homelands – Japan, China and Vietnam – and the passage that brought their families to Canada. But since Art is where the right word is often the most mutable, “crossing” can also mean leaving an art gallery transformed by an artwork – or seeing your own work displayed there for the first time, with the same level of care that brought it into being.

To AGGV Curator of Asian Art Heng Wu, the drawings, paintings and sculptural works that make up Crossing convey “the essence of migration, heritage, and identity, painting a vivid picture of the diverse and enriching experiences that lie at the heart of our multicultural nation.” As with any successful picture, the exhibition carries both positive and negative experiences familiar to those who have left life-threatening situations for those where terror is less clearly defined.

Working primarily in pencil and oil, Kono presents dreamy landscape drawings populated by human and animal forms, both present and migratory, while her layered oil-and-tempera-on-linen paintings feature landscapes specific to northern Canada, the Pacific Northwest and the American Southwest. Lou’s landscapes resound as much for their material elements – combining Chinese brushes, rice paper and ink with watercolour gouache and acrylic – as they do for their expressive convergence of Chinese and Western traditions. Phan’s highly accomplished oil paintings range from realist portraits of human groupings to kitchen-table still lifes.

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