“An artist named Cheung”

Life echoes art yet again as someone who gets a nod in my novella Monkey Steals Plum revisits Manchester. For an artist named Cheung is showing some of his latest works at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art [CFCCA] as part of that venue’s 30th anniversary celebrations…

Gordon painting 2016

I first met Gordon Cheung and covered his multi-layered, mindful art while I was working as a journalist. This was back in 2004 yet it’s easy to quite vividly recall interviewing the fresh-faced Gordon at the very same venue in Manchester where his work has now returned…Gordon_Capture

Since 2004 I’ve remained enamoured with Cheung’s artwork, often bemoaned the fact that I’ve not earned or saved enough dosh to buy one of his paintings, and consistently followed his career as it has deservedly blossomed.

In a literary conceit I, unashamedly, nodded to Gordon’s older painting style in my Monkey novella…

Troy’s professional eye was always spy-hopping for intrigue, for characters, for stories. His camera loved places as much as people yet it was rich human experience that Troy most sought. He glanced up from his phone, wincing, and slyly spied on the old men.

The gents each handled pinkish newsprint. The tableau recalled to Troy’s mind a painting by an artist named Cheung. He had shot Cheung’s art many years before, a random assignment for a cultural magazine that had been a welcome respite from the council, courts, and coroner.

Troy always trusted his nose about people and he had sensed that Cheung was one of few: a stellar image maker, a good egg. Never mind if he was a painter more than photographer. Troy had loved how that artist rendered symbols of aspiration, beauty, and power directly on top of old newspaper print. The feint, uniform lines on the faded newsprint listed stocks and shares. To Troy the listings were an esoteric puzzle as foreign to his eye as Mandarin, yet, worse than that, bullshit. He loved the fact that the artist rendered telling symbols atop of the financial listings.

Rainbows. Waterfalls. Stags.

On all three counts – the fact of Gordon’s new work being free to view ‘just up the road’; the fact of meeting Gordon all those years ago; and my fictional nod to “an artist named Cheung” – I can’t wait to quietly slip inside Gallery 2 at the CCCA (Manchester) and spend some quality time with whatever Gordon has chosen to leave in that space in 2016.




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