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So young, yet so broken. Nostalgic and melanchonic, but still lively and forward looking. Fresh and vivid, although strongly referential and connected with past greatness. Canadian painter Matthew Wong taught the art world how to express freedom through simplicity, how to share and dispense his dreamy and solitary vision, through the depiction of colourful and romantic mindscapes. 

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Born in 1984, in Toronto, Matthew Wong was a self taught, young and extremely talented painter, whom was able to impress the world with his meaningful imagery, made of both contemporary freshness and careful referentiality. During his intense but unfortunately short life experience, Wong used painting as a way to overtake his moments of solitude and dismay; to fight the sufferance connected to his feelings of inadequacy and his tendencies towards depression and self isolation. 

 

        

From left to right: Matthew Wong, Untitled, 2017. Oil on canvas; Matthew Wong, Untitled, 2019. Oil on canvas.

 

His work displays a clever, dosed and mature mixture of a variety of past tendencies, ranging from the usage of intuitive and powerful mark-making, which Wong derived from Abstract Expressionism, and the adoption of the lively, vivid and sweeping brushstrokes of Vincent Van Gogh, Chaime Soutine and the post-impressionistic aesthetic. When diving into Matthew Wong’s paintings, the viewer is requiered to let go off himself and travel into what the painter presents as variety of beautiful, naturalistic and vivid landscapes. When deep inside this dreamy setting, the observer is subject to a meaningful experience, which allows him and his mind to gradually understand the secrets that hide beneath the flat, bidimensional, surface of the canvas. In Wong’s paintings, beauty acts as a gateway towards something deeper and more complex, a stairway that allows the spectator to overcome superficial aesthetic pleasure and get in close contact with what looks like a contemporary transposition of pure romantic sublime. Matthew Wong was able to communicate his sufferance by activating personal and collective nostalgia, facilitated by the common feeling of solitude that is felt by the individuals that live in contemporary society. 

 

Matthew Wong, Untitled, 2017. Oil on canvas

 

“I do believe that there is an inherent loneliness or melancholy to much of contemporary life, and on a broader level I feel my work speaks to this quality in addition to being a reflection of my thoughts, fascinations and impulses.”

A beautiful mind. A courageous personality made of honesty and talent, trapped into the void of solitude and depression. Constantly fighting against his sympathy towards introspection and his sentiment of misplacement. Creating pristine images filled with double-edged interpretations and mixed feelings, while trying to communicate to the outside world and attempting to create moments of individual and collective awareness. Unfortunately, Matthew Wong’s sufferance reached a breaking point on October 2nd, 2019, when he dramatically left the world by committing suicide at the age of 35. An incredibly sad ending for such a powerful artistic persona. An unbelievable loss for a world that is in need of examples of pureness and genuine expressive greatness, such as the one given by Wong’s paintings. An artistic research that deserves to remain eternal and is left for future generations to adore as an archetype of supreme influential power.

 

Matthew Wong, End of the Day, 2019. Oil on canvas.

 

Matthew Wong, Look, the Moon, 2019. Oil on canvas.

 

Cover image: Matthew Wong, The Realm of Appearances, 2018. Oil on canvas.

Written by Mario Rodolfo Silva

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