Known primarily for his landscapes, Chak paints the forms of the natural world in abstract and poetic ways. After showing internationally—having lived in Japan and the USA for several decades—Chak: Landscapes and Other Natural Occurrences, is one of the first significant solo exhibitions of the artist’s work to be displayed in Hong Kong. The UMAG exhibition highlights both his larger two-panel canvases and smaller works on paper as a way to illustrate the artist’s evolution of thought. This catalogue is published to coincide with the exhibition.
Solidly grounded in traditional methodologies, Chak’s philosophy of painting is drawn out in oil, acrylic and ink. Each composition is a manifestation of the painter’s belief in the need to remain in conversation with nature. His study of plants, rivers and hillsides are influenced by the painter’s idealised mission to recreate nature through his own sophisticated form of craftsmanship. Chak is fascinated with the calm that nature offers each of us to recharge amidst our hectic days within urban environments.
Chung H. Chak graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1981, where he studied with the modernist master Liu Kuo-sung. With his students, Liu stressed the necessity of considering multiple artistic traditions and unconventional modes of brushwork as a way to transform Chinese painting. During his undergraduate years, Chak incorporated a broad range of contemporary theories and materials, for which he received many prestigious awards, including honours from the Contemporary Hong Kong Art Biennial (Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1979) and Youth Art Now: Asia (Hong Kong Arts Centre, 1980). After graduation, he was awarded a Monbusho Scholarship to continue his education at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts. Chak then went on to study in the United States, completing an MA from Ball State University in 1986, an MFA from Queens College in New York, a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and the National Artists Program at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York City. Throughout the 1980s and early ’90s, Chak’s work was shown widely in Hong Kong, New York, Tokyo and Taipei. After living abroad for nearly 30 years, he returned to Hong Kong in 2009.