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Christchurch City Council Media Release



20 August, 1999

Evocative abstract images at the Annex Universe:

Recent Paintings by Luise Fong

3 September – 10 October, 1999
McDougall Contemporary Art Annex

‘My starting points are generally intuitive responses to the world, to my state of mind, and to cultural aspects around me. I’m interested in basic, simple processes and finding poetry in simple things’. (Luise Fong)

Planetary orbit and the earth’s gravitation are themes explored in Luise Fong’s recent abstract paintings at the Contemporary Art Annex. These subtly painted monochromatic works explore the natural forces that control life on earth. Using gravity in her painting process, Fong tips, tilts and drips paint to build up a rich surface. These sculptural paintings have a strong physical presence in their conscious occupation of space.

While many of Fong’s previous paintings have been likened to cosmological galaxies, Universe is intended to reflect the intimate sphere of her own life and art practice. Her works develop connections between cosmology, pathology and the interior spaces of the human body. The physicality of making art is very important to Fong, as she explains, ‘ I think it is increasingly important, as we head towards a new century and a time when things are increasingly ‘unreal’, that art and handcrafted objects have a feel of the body on them’.

Universe was created during Luise Fong’s residency as the Visiting Artist at the University of Canterbury, a programme supported by Creative New Zealand. Fong believes that a strong sense of place is integral to her art practice, and although she has lived in Melbourne since 1995, she maintains her best work is created whilst living in New Zealand.

Born in Malaysia in 1964, Fong moved to New Zealand as a child. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in print-making from the University of Auckland in 1989. In 1994 she was the Artist-in-residence at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne and in the same year was the joint winner of the Visa Gold Art Award. Fong has participated in several important international exhibitions displaying New Zealand art overseas.

Universe will be supported by a catalogue and two floortalks: Luise Fong will speak on Saturday, 4 September at 11.00am and Belinda Jones, Curatorial Assistant, will speak on Thursday, 9 September at 1.00pm. Both talks will be held at the Contemporary Art Annex in the Christchurch Arts Centre. Admission is free.


The Robert McDougall Art Gallery, located in the Botanic Gardens, is New Zealand’s most visited public art gallery featuring regular, changing exhibitions of international and national historical and contemporary art. The McDougall Contemporary Art Annex, located in the Arts Centre, features changing displays of contemporary art. Both the Gallery and Art Annex are open daily 10am – 4.30pm.


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