Originally published at https://www.wanderingeducators.com/artisans/artisan-month/artist-month-megan-vun-wong.html
Submitted by Dr. Jessie Voigts on Mon, 06/01/2009 – 22:52
One of the cool things about our Artist of the Month feature is how sometimes, one thing leads to another. Last year, we featured a dear friend of mine, Ludolf Grolle. His artwork – of which I am lucky enough to have two – is incredible, colorful, joyous. Ludo then told me about an artist friend of his, Megan Vun Wong. I went to her site, and was amazed at the explosions of color, the riot of feelings, the THOUGHT behind each glorious painting. The good luck and personal contacts that led me to her work is serendipitous. Each day since I’ve found her, I’ve visited Megan’s site and looked, quite closely, at ONE painting. That day’s painting, viewed in the morning, stays with me all day. Many times, it influences how I feel. It also makes me happy, looking at her colors, her torrents of joy and feeling and life.
INDUCEMENT 08 3ftw x 4ft h enamel on canvas
We were lucky enough to be able to sit down and talk with Megan about her work, consciousness, humanity, life experiences, and more. Here’s what she had to say…
WE: Please tell us about your art…
MVW: To learn of my art, you need to learn a bit of my life as an artist. The dominant enduring concerns that invariably guide me through my artmaking processes deal with the intricacies, the vicissitudes of modern living. Specifically the paucity of spirituality in contemporary society.
Vun Wong graduated from York University in Toronto, Ontario in 1985 with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts, majoring in ‘Painting’. Earlier awarded the Gissur Eliasson Scholarship and the Isbister Scholarship upon completion of her Undergraduate Studies from the University of Manitoba, herself and her dog Fudgee, along with Edward, her new husband, moved to Toronto so she could obtain her masters degree.
All their possessions crammed into a U-Haul truck, they made their trek from Winnipeg to Toronto on a scorchy hot August weekend in 1983. They stayed in Toronto for 5 long lonely years. It was difficult making friends in Toronto when the masters class was only a mere 6 students and they all went abroad after completion of the graduate program. So after the births of their daughters Delaney and Zephyra, they decided to return to Winnipeg for Fun, Family and Frolic. ( In 1993 their third daughter Everett came into the world.)
For the past 25 years, Vun Wong has devoted her life to the expression of the human condition that besets contemporary society. She prides myself as being a philosophical painter and through abstract imagery she speaks of the urgent necessity of modern culture to regain a reconnection with nature, an interconnectedness with the universe, the cosmos. Seeking harmony, balance and a true sense of wonderment within this truly majestic, marvelous biosphere are recurring themes.
Some of her work laments the incompatibility of modern man with his natural world, as modernity and its accompanying values, unjustly supercedes his surroundings, stripping away the wonders of our planet. Her recent work espouses the hope and optimism that we all must aspire, striving for empathetic meaning/ symbiotic interconnection within ourselves, within our society, within the global community.
A recipient of a number of Arts Council Grants, Vun Wong has exhibited her work consistently. In terms of nationally: (Hull, Quebec; Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa); internationally: (Japan, Brazil, New Hampshire, San Clemente; Solo shows in Montreal, Santa Monica and Los Angeles )
PERSISTENCE 8ftH x 3ftH acrylic , enamel on canvas
OLD SOUL. 06 acrylic,enamel on canvas
* * *
Please view images on my website: www.meganvunwong.com
Please view the works that comprise this exhibit entitled SUMMON THE SONG: Visual Quotations of the Song of Life.
This exhibit is an exploration into one’s unique constellation of circumstance that forms one’s present life situation, that forms one’s present psyche.
The paintings in this new body of work speak of the human condition that co-exist and resonate within the consciousness and experience of humanity. Each painting is a visual representation that reveals a human experience, a stanza in the song of life. Each work symbolizes an important, integral component in this song evoking the quintessential qualities of humanity. The attributes, the righteous, the cavalier, the captiousness all define our humanity, our psychological being. Each of these propels each of us through each hour, each day, each lifetime. Though the experience is unique in origin, unique in realization, it can be identified with the pathos of our existence.
Within the works, ardent interpretations strive to elicit an understanding of what it means to be human: deep introspection juxtaposed to suggestions of incipient enlightenment co-exist. The exploration into our inner and outer world, the intriguing implications, the attempts at balance and harmony, together, derive the mystery of being.
The implosive acrylic-on-canvas works are more inwardly seeking as evinced by the searching quality of the painterly line. These co-exist with the more explosive enamel-on-canvas works that denote a more outward force: wilful, more fluid, exacting its presence. Amid a torrent of colour, these two very different approaches struggle alongside one another, conveying the state of mind that befalls all of humanity. That is, the eventuating discourse represents the convergence of experience that must be recognized, sustained, assimilated in being sensate, in being human. These are the fodder of what we become.
All of humanity possesses pursuits and quests more same than different. The force, the compulsion, the dynamism that articulate our existence, that necessitate our response, that coerce the constellation of circumstance – mine and yours – are shaped by these and also by the equilibrium encountered in the quiet. Combining these two varying energies together in one work impel upon the canvas surface a potency that is not unlike the vigorousness of life’s trials and tribulations. Strong, and surely unruly, is its presence.
By exploring my personal portals of perception, it is the aim of this exhibit to pique the wonderment of the viewer to relate to the ‘collective consciousness’ of humanity. My artistic endeavour here is to render the ineffable an accessibility to explore the spiritual, the sensate, the stirring, the mystery.
Each one of us, as an autumn leaf just fallen, swirls and twirls to the strongest of wind, tosses and turns to the slightest of breeze, then, skips and turns to the echo of walking feet. Finally, comes to rest in a pile among others. From different directions, touched by different trajectories of life. All are quite the same now. All have danced to the song of life.
MODERN MYTH (6ft W x 2ft H) (enamel on canvas)
Modern Myth is a triptych which speaks of the obsession of contemporary society to conquer the world around it. The myth is to propagate the ideal that advanced technology and scientific rationalization are superior, thus heralding the great achievements of modern man. Concomitantly then relegating spirituality, emotional identity and man’s interrelatedness with the universe as of very much less importance.
The first panel displays a red dragon from folklore that characterizes myth from long, long time past. This image conjures up magic moments of myth from the sharing of story-telling, perhaps in front of a late night fire. The dragon relays to modern man this wonderful cultural pastime that is now for certain a thing of the past as today we continue seeking out new and quicker electronic ways to communicate.
The middle panel suggests the hand of modernity that mercilessly disrupts the natural rhythms of the universe, carelessly leaving behind exploited rumblings with the obsessive insistence to continue on, forge ahead. The quiet, serene, symbiotic bucolic relationship ancient man once held precious with his surroundings is now predicated by his urgency to overpower his natural surroundings. Plunder the wonders of our planet.
The last panel contains a dark, yet translucent, elliptical image reminiscent of the obscure, the ambiguous, the abstruse – much akin to the ephemeral qualities of spirituality. It stands forthright and strong superimposed atop the background to convey the significance of the personal search for meaning to engender personal empowerment; to discover and rediscover the consequence of contemporary humanity.
Modern Myth engages in the necessity for modern man to regain the interconnectedness with the cosmos, hence the celestial references throughout the work, that ensconces humanity and all life on this earth.
Milestones. 2008. 36inW x 48inH. acrylic on canvas
WE: How / When Did you start becoming an artist?
MVW: I think I started becoming an artist as soon as I became aware of my surroundings. Since that time as a youngster, I sensed that there were things in my head that needed to be expressed, that needed to be reconciled. These thoughts, I knew, could not be adequately conveyed with words, language nor books. They had to be expressed in pictures and colours, without the limitations of the intellectual processes. Ahhh….the allure of the visual. The visceral / emotional as opposed to the analytical/ intellectual. I did not know it at the time, but I was already beginning the search, the quest for the essence, the source, the nascent: to reveal the philosophy of life.
Presently, my art strives to galvanize and symbolize the significance of the following in the lives of contemporary (wo)man: Delving into the origin, the ancestral past, the atavism reveal their concomitant search for spirituality. Healing their lost connection with an intimate life force while nursing an acute yearning of the traces of memory and the primordial is a constant concern for this artist.
DETERMINATION. 08, Enamel on canvas
THE UNFAMILIAR 24inW x 24inH
WE: What do you draw your emotions from?
MVW: I draw my emotions from a multitude of places – something that I have read, something moving, something especially touches my being. Oh…the language tease!
Sometimes, I’m in a conversation with friends and suddenly I feel that I must render what we speak pictorially…ah…the emotional tease! It is always my inner compass that whispers to me that this is something that is important and needs the context of my visual language. Then these would envelop my thoughts for quite some time, all the while incubating a kind of colour ‘crypticism’ that one day makes it to the canvas.
POSTURING. 4ftWx3ftH, Enamel on canvas
INCENSE 1,2,3, 07 Enamel on canvas. 36inWx 16inH
WE: Where are your favourite places to create art?
MVW: My favourite place to create art is at the Starbucks on Corydon Avenue. I consider that place my office and it’s like the hustle-bustle family there with all the morning regulars – all buzzing about what they did last night and what they’re going to do tonight. A public diary of sorts… It’s got all the energy of a night-time bar but without the blur of all the beers. Instead I sit in my regular seat amidst what I call a caffeine camp cavorting with the images that jump in and out of my imagination. Some make it on paper. Some don’t. The din that I hear helps my brain let go of the pictures it holds and I quickly snap them up, slotting them in my ‘conception’ file.
My other favourite place to create art is in my bedroom. Late, late into the night – or – first thing in the fresh morn. In both these states, the images just seemingly surface quietly in my mind. At these times, they are the most vivid and they tumble out of me effortlessly.
PARADOX 24inW x 24inH acrylic on canvas
RESILIENCE. enamel on canvas
WE: What do you enjoy creating most?
MVW: I enjoy making art that comes surprisingly quick with no contrived effort, no construct of thought and composition. And these are born ever-so-beautiful. So expressive. So strong. So right. True works of art…Serendipity at its finest!
SOCIAL STANCE.07. enamel on canvas
REAWAKEN. 30inWx30inH. acrylic & enamel on canvas
WE: How can readers find and purchase your art?
MVW: Please visit my website at: www.meganvunwong.com
When viewing the images on my website, please click on the image to enlarge it.
The website comprises images from my most recent 2 exhibits:
VACILLATE and SUMMON THE SONG.
What follows are the 2 accompanying artist statements from those art exhibits.
Please view the works that comprise this exhibit entitled VACILLATE
This new body of work entitled VACILLATE consists of two kinds of works – acrylic on canvas and enamel on canvas – conceived and executed within the past two years, 2006-2007. Each kind is reflective of a time when emotions, distinct and dissimilar, ruled my life. The work is characteristic of the condition that culminated after a life-altering event: the sudden unforeseen passing of Edward, my husband of 26 years, of a brain aneurysm.
A devastating event, it exerted tremendous hopelessness upon my existence. Immersed in the natural feelings of grief and sorrow there also came the concomitant conflict that stirred incessantly within. ‘Why?’ Months reeling in this vacuous vortex I was not any closer to an answer.
Then, after a time, the soft balm of reconciliation slowly befell my being and I began to view life and living tempered with hope. This is reflective in the acrylic works: serious and sombre, yet with a glimmer of light. During my journey of restoration, it became clear that one is not in control of one’s life, nor one’s own mortality. So with these notions ebbing and flowing, I began to allow the medium in the enamel works to take a more prominent presence in the artmaking process, as I relegated myself to a lesser role. So then, whereas the acrylic paintings denote the despondency, the enamel paintings rejoice an energy, an exuberance. These enamel works herald the beauty of life and imbue a spirituality renewed; a soul reawakened; a self restored.
It is the vacillation between these two mindsets of emotion that propelled each work to fruition, to a conclusion which brought forth its final formulation. They beseech an understanding to strive to live a life of authenticity, close to one’s heart, representative of one’s personal hopes, one’s private yearnings, one’s own sacredness.
INSPIRATION 3ftw x 4ft h enamel on canvas
METAMORPHOSIS 2, 07. Enamel&Acrylic on canvas, 24inWx36inH
Metamorphosis, 1, 07
WE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
MVW: I think every one of us is blessed with a talent. Even the most ostensibly non-effective individual possesses something that is unique. Whether it’s a soft kind heart, a quirky sense of humour, the capacity to take apart a watch and put it back again with it still working…I believe I have been blessed with the ability to use the visual language to convey the ineffable, where verbal language just seems to get in the way of the power of thought, the power of experience and expression. The power of communication.
To speak of the willowy whispers that waft within our world – so ephemeral, so ethereal.
Somehow the work that comes out of me is reflective of me: At times, sullen and sombre. Other times jubilant. All the time, sincere and open to the vagaries of plain living.
Many, many things in our world are beyond words. Beyond language. Linguistics cannot do justice to the thought, the idea, the feeling that imbues my soul from time to time. The visual voice, the visual slate can bridge the chasm that exist between the never-ending nuance and the written word. The ineffable is given form. The reflection is given life. The breadth and latitude of emotion give rise to the exploration, and a glimpse into the explanantion. This is why I must make art. Art gives form to the ambivalence and the layers of understanding that come with contemplation, introspection and vision. I feel the most ardent of purpose when I philosophize about the existance of humanity.
Making art is how I deliver my philosophy.
To me, Art breathes life breathes Art.
BELIEVE 24inW x 24inH enamel on canvas
LIFE’S TRAJECTORIES, 07. Enamel&Acrylic on canvas. 24inWx24inH
WE: Incredible. Thanks so much, Megan. You’ve inspired me with both your words and your art.
To learn more about Megan’s work, please see: www.meganvunwong.com
PLUMAGE, 07, 12inWx16inH, Enamel on canvas
PASSION TO PERFORM 30inWx36inH