About The Watchful Eyes
Morton Fine Art (52 O Street NW #302) is pleased to present The Watchful Eyes, a solo presentation of new paintings by New York-based artist Choichun Leung, on view from January 19 – February 17, 2022. Reflective of the past decade of the artist’s practice, Leung’s latest body of work chronicles pathways towards healing from childhood sexual abuse.
A self-taught painter with a background in silversmithing, Leung’s investigations of painting’s use as a vehicle for memory began in 2006. Working at the intersections of cathartic ritual and narrative storytelling, Leung’s initially abstract imagery gradually gave way to figural translations of lived experience. In 2012, the artist began The Young Girl Project, an ongoing series of autobiographical drawings that revealed an inner world she had long suppressed.
Timed to the ten-year anniversary of Leung’s inception of The Young Girl Project, The Watchful Eyes presents surrealist tableaus that together construct a world drawn from the artist’s memories and dreams. By juxtaposing fantastical and realist elements, Leung’s Boschian landscapes capture the emotional density layered within her work’s difficult subject matter. Often set within vibrant fields of color, these scenes depict women and girls forging networks of kinship and care, uniting in mutual struggle and communal healing. Upon these charged terrains, motifs of hands and eyes gesture towards the (im)materiality of trauma’s evidence, the works themselves acting as records of the past and present. In the exhibition’s eponymous painting, The Watchful Eyes (2021), large, disembodied eyes gaze on as several figures raise up their rope-bound wrists, the former bearing witness to the latter’s resistance.
Linking the conscious and subconscious, this body of work “interprets and documents the symbols and visual data of ‘memory clips,’” says Choichun Leung. In doing so, Leung creates space for viewers to transpose their own histories, inviting her audience to share in her processes of the emotional transitions towards empowerment. As Leung describes this impetus, “by instigating recollection, powerful conversations begin as people explore self-discovery, truth, and transformation.”
In prompting a collective reckoning, Leung’s imagery emphasizes the role of community-building in the aftermath of trauma. Alluding to the therapeutic practice of Reiki, in which practitioners use their palms to direct the flow of energy within one’s body, Surrendering to the Nine Hand Energy Transfer (2021) shows dotted lines springing from fingertips like spider silk, weaving a connective web between disparate figures. Mirroring the support systems mapped out by her compositions, Leung’s work cultivates an imperative dialogue surrounding an often-invisibilized form of violence, replacing shame with self-authorship and a voice to replace silence.
About CHOICHUN LEUNG
CHOICHUN LEUNG is originally from Wales, U.K and has been a resident of Brooklyn, New York since 1994. Leung earned a BA (Hons) Degree in Silversmithing at Loughborough College of Art/Design, UK, and is a self-taught painter, previously working as a background artist for animation film in Hong Kong and assistant to pop artist Peter Max in NYC. Leung began exploring memory via painting in 2006, the abstract slowly became literal, and in 2012 she started a series of personal autobiographical drawings. This accumulation of work was the beginning of ‘The Young Girl Project,’ a visual narrative of childhood sexual abuse and the lasting effects on her as a young girl and adult.
What began as a single sketch is now a multi-disciplinary art project of drawings, paintings, film, books, activism, and collaborations. Leung also serves as the subject and producer of The Art of Survival, a mixed media documentary currently in production, following the progress of the autobiographical drawings she started in 2012. Leung has worked for Glossier and Proenza Schouler with editorials in CR Fashion Book, Allure, and Puss Puss Magazine, raising awareness of this issue through art.
The Young Girl Project is now a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (www.theyounggirlproject.org).
About Morton Fine Art
Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC by curator Amy Morton, Morton Fine Art (MFA) is a fine art gallery and curatorial group that collaborates with art collectors and visual artists to inspire fresh ways of acquiring contemporary art. Firmly committed to the belief that art collecting can be cultivated through an educational stance, MFA’s mission is to provide accessibility to museum-quality contemporary art through a combination of substantive exhibitions and a welcoming platform for dialogue and exchange of original voice. Morton Fine Art specializes in a stellar roster of nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as has an additional focus on artwork of the African Diaspora.
Morton Fine Art founded the trademark *a pop-up project in 2010. *a pop-up project is MFA’s mobile gallery component which hosts temporary curated exhibitions nationally.
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Morton Fine Art is located at 52 O St NW #302.