Paintings by Matthew Wong


Matthew Wong is a self-taught painter instinctually navigating his internal rhythms as a way of processing and responding to the visual and cerebral world around him. When I first saw these paintings, I imagined at once the artist who had made them, which I don’t often do. I visualized him in a still, dark body of water, suspended in a Prussian blue abyss. On a given day, he could be painting a picture related to his impressions of the art, poetry, and literature he’s engaging at the time. On another day, combing his tangled memories, the times and places he’s moved between. Matthew is developing a unique painterly language, revisiting themes in his work such as dreams, mysteries, mazes, and sad ironies—the repetition of which comes intuitively, not unlike the urge that washes over you to call up an old friend.

Matthew’s favourite word is the Portuguese “saudade,” meaning the nostalgic or profound longing for something or someone that is no longer. This word describes the unexplained feeling I have often, and try to achieve in my own paintings, as well as a quality I look for in other works of art. I see it in Matthew, in his perfectly observational openness. His ability to step back and separate himself from the genuine feelings that instigate and emanate from his works is what I admire most. It isn’t only an internalized feeling expressed, but becomes a part of something bigger—an external, empathic, collective energy. I wouldn’t be surprised if Matthew is clairvoyant. He is floating on his back through the subconscious stream of universal, fleeting sensations, desires and urges, looking up at what’s beyond him. Darby Milbrath


See Matthew’s work in print, here.