Did you know love is healing?: Jeffrey Cheung @ pt.2 Gallery
Jeffrey Cheung makes intimacy bold. His intimate portrayals of lovers and nudes, friends and couples, have a rare honesty about what it is to be in love, to be loved, or to just need physical contact. The looks are that of smiles, of independence, of love. And just like the name of his new solo show, Cheung understands the healing power of love.
pt. 2 Gallery is pleased to announce Did you know love is healing?, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Oakland-based artist Cheung.
From the gallery: In an untitled painting, the legs of five figures criss-cross and overlap atop a blue background. Presented in profile with elongated bodies, these figures hold one another, creating a weblike formation of tenderness and support. Despite variance in skin tone across the figures, they share facial features; each bears neck-length curly hair, piercing almond-shaped eyes and a bemused smirk. Their androgynous bodies and comfort with one another support an open-ended assumption of love - that regardless of physical form or gender identity; regardless of traditional ideas of union or pleasure - love can be tender, supportive and healing.
Cheung’s paintings repel ideas of heteronormativity and stress the idea that representation matters. The ambiguous characters, undefinable by race or gender, are instead typified by the joy that they share, and the light they spark in one another. Many figures are rendered in brilliant prismatic colors, further removing them from any assumption of racial or gender identity. Without these signifiers, Cheung’s subjects present free of preconceived notions based on their appearance.
Cheung‘s figures display newfound freedom in both their pose and skin tone in his latest paintings. Whereas flat expanses of vivid colors defined many of his previous works, his latest paintings use a luxurious matte finish that allows for unique combinations of skin tone accented by rainbow highlights. For example in the piece, Untitled #2, the two figures are depicted in shades of brown and red, with undertones of blue and purple shimmering through. The marks that make up this skin tone allude to a history of tachisme in representing the human form. With their matte finish and colorful highlights, the figures seem familiar and approachable, as if they resemble a past or future love.