Adrian Kay Wong

Overlooked moments

<em>Soft Voices and Hard Liquor</em>, 2023, oil on canvas, 31”H x 46”W x 0.75”D.
Soft Voices and Hard Liquor, 2023, oil on canvas, 31”H x 46”W x 0.75”D.

In his paintings of domestic interiors, Adrian Kay Wong captures the seemingly mundane aspects of daily life through exacting brushstrokes and precise lines. Wong, who has a BFA in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, originally studied graphite drawing and printmaking before switching to oils. “I paint everyday objects or moments that are overlooked spaces or moments in time that you would not normally consider very important,” he says. “I like the idea that there’s a lot happening contextually without being the direct focal point.” Some of these recent works are part of an exhibition, Keepsake, at Uprise Art in New York City.

  • Canary, 2023, oil on canvas, 40”H x 60”W x 1.5”D.

Wong takes reference photographs in his apartment—of coffee cups, watches, clocks, windows, dog toys strewn across tables, and other ordinary objects. Using these images, he drafts his paintings in Photoshop, adding depth through elongated shadows and dusky hues that match specific moods or memories. He wants to imbue each painting with “the feeling you have when you see your friends laughing. You can appreciate the moment for what it is, but you know the night will end eventually.” Even beyond the pervading sense of tempus fugit, Wong hopes his depictions of quiet, interior moments will inspire in viewers a sense of calm. “I think people respond well to an overall feeling of stillness,” he says.

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Noelani Kirschner is a former assistant editor for the Scholar.


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