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BRENT WONG Structures of Time 3 August - 4 September

BRENT WONG: Structures of Time Since the late 1960s, Brent Wong’s compelling and meditative paintings have been exacting, painstaking, meticulous and resolved at length. Wong from the early 1970s ‘wowed’ the public with striking juxtapositions; of deep blue Wellington skies and enigmatic, architectural creations hovering over space, un-peopled landscapes and modest colonial dwellings. Interior with Coffee Pot and Exterior date from the late 1960s, the beginning of the Structure works and a period in Wong’s practice which was surreal and intensely autobiographical and symbolic. Wong’s paintings in Structures of Time are very early works, and they are not a description of a literal place but of a state of mind and spirit; of being. The structures of time, personal structures and spatial structures are all important philosophical and formal concerns in the paintings of Brent Wong. Time, space and existence are examined in these paintings. The unknown and the future are all questioned as we know it. Exterior, dates from 1968, it is perhaps the artists first attempt at setting the Structure series (from his drawings) into a painted image in an outdoor setting. Apart from Colonial Summer, from the same year - where grass and sky is treated very similarly. This previously existed as Interiors as in the Interior with Coffeepot and Mangle painting and in Cloud Machine, 1968. These works show the artists portraying landscape, figure and cloud. The technique regards to tone/contrast of surfaces results in ambiguous emphasis. Likewise, Structure is more sophisticated, and perhaps more formal, with it reference to a ‘back wall’, as in the Interior works. and is also interesting as it shows part of the painting process, as it is, as well as the gray ground Wong liked to work on (in preference to a white ground which, while giving a brighter look, he thought presented technical problems) - while gray Wong found was unifying - this gray ground the artist also used in later studies. Interior with Coffeepot and Mangle, 1968 - a clearly experimental work, displays the artists continued grappling with how to convey an interior, which was perhaps not more clearly resolved until works such as; Theatre, and Mach 11 at 37,000, both from 1968. A breakthrough however in the work, was the transformation of the end wall to an out door scene. Wong studied at the Wellington Polytechnic College and throughout the early 1960s drew on a number of inspirations: Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky with their emphases on the spiritual and intuitive, the mesmerising and contemplative visions of English Romantic watercolourist Joseph Mallord William Turner and the meticulous and emotionally loaded paintings of American painter Andrew Wyeth. Wong has works in the collection of the Auckland Art Gallery, The Dowse Art Museum, The Wallace Arts Trust and the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa. By Claire Ulenberg

1. Omniscience acrylic on board 1970


Exterior acrylic on board 1968 4’ x 4.5’

3. Structure acrylic on board 1968 5’x 4’

4. Interior with Coffeepot & Mangle acrylic on board 1968

5. Turnstile acrylic on board 1975

Brent Wong Structures of Time 3 August - 4 September 1. Omniscience acrylic on board 1970 2. Exterior acrylic on board 1968 3. Structure acrylic on board 1968 4. Interior with Coffepot & Mangle

acrylic on board


5. Turnstile acrylic on board 1975

Brent Wong - Structures of Time  
Brent Wong - Structures of Time