Leong’s painted landscapes are rooted in a bilingual vocabulary and style. Drawing from observation and the study of classical Chinese paintings, imagery and symbols, his large scale paintings incorporate a holistic view of the subject of Canadian landscape and the convergence with the artist. Leong’s pursuit of nature as subject and his place within this context uses the landscape painting tradition of the artist recording, thus, disseminating an ongoing relational narrative. Shifting botany and phenomenal changes such as seasons, place, time and space, the artist roams through geography and species always reinventing, and always telling stories. Nature converges with imagination in an invented place of colorful trees, and the whirring of insects. Light becomes solid and massive, rainbows like architecture. One dwells in the poetry of re experience, the reflection within the calm of a lake. It is painting that continually evolves in a unique way from the limitation of working solely from memory. What isn’t remembered accurately is invented, forming a synthesis of inspiration, observation, memory and imagination.
A third generation Chinese-Canadian, Rick Leong obtained his MFA from Concordia University in 2007. His thesis work was immediately acquired by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts affirming his emerging practice. In 2008, he was a finalist in the Royal Bank of Canada’s Painting Competition that toured at important venues such as The National Gallery of Canada, the Power Plant, Toronto and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. (Parisian Laundry)