Matthew Wong took his life on October 2, 2019, in Edmonton, Alberta. He was 35. His obituary in the NYTimes described him as “a promising self-taught painter whose vibrant landscapes, forest scenes and still lifes were just beginning to command attention and critical acclaim.”
His mother, Monita (Cheng) Wong, said Mr. Wong was on the autism spectrum, had Tourette’s syndrome and had grappled with depression since childhood… In a telephone interview, she spoke of his sense of isolation, and of his struggles with depression. “He would just tell me, ‘You know, Mom, my mind, I’m fighting with the Devil every single day, every waking moment of my life.’”
Mr. Wong’s paintings also synthesize from Chinese landscape painting, Van Gogh, Vuillard, Milton Avery, Alex Katz and Lois Dodd. But his brush strokes convey their own sense of urgency and speed, which downplays mastery for the sake of direct communication.
And Mr. Wong took equal inspiration from natural forms — leaves, trees, their branches, grass, stones, bushes — translated them into a his own vocabulary of semiabstract strokes and shapes.
Neil Genzlinger, “Matthew Wong, Painter on Cusp of Fame, Dies at 35,” NYTimes, 10-21-19.
Roberta Smith, “A Final Rhapsody in Blue From Matthew Wong,” NYTimes, 12-24-19.
(c) 2020 JMN