PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art presents

An Interview with Rick Leong

Published JULY 21, 2020

Rick Leong in conversation with Cheryl Sim, curator of the exhibition RELATIONS at PHI Foundation.

Rick Leong’s painted landscapes are rooted in a bilingual vocabulary and style. Drawn from observation and influenced by classical Chinese paintings, imagery, and symbols, his large-scale paintings incorporate a holistic view of the Canadian landscape and the artist’s relationship to it. Leong’s pursuit and recording of nature abides by the terms of traditional landscape painting, a strategy by which he disseminates an ongoing relational narrative. With attention to environmental changes in botany—such as temporal and meteorological conditions—the artist reimagines the natural world. Light becomes solid and massive, and rainbows become architectural. One is tempted to dwell in the poetry of experience. Painting no longer requires that the artist work solely from memory. What is not remembered accurately is invented, forming a synthesis of inspiration, observation, memory, and imagination.

Rick Leong is an Associate Professor in the Visual Arts department at UVic.