Michelle Loa Kum Cheung creates fictional environments to explore the idea of a displaced heritage. Her current practice is a response to the geographical dislocation between the environment in which she was raised and her cultural heritage and identity as an Australian with a Chinese Mauritian background.
Loa Kum Cheung draws upon Chinese concepts in shan shui painting, where the depiction of landscape relies on the artist’s innate and intuitive reaction to the visual reality. Contrasting degrees of perception, depth and form cultivate a tension between the real and the imagined.
Favouring the tactility and raw materiality of wood, in her paintings Loa Kum Cheung amalgamates various techniques including pyrography, oil, liquid graphite and gold leaf with a focus on intentional mark making. The physicality in the application of the materials is an attempt to exert ownership over the elusiveness of memory, time and place – inherently flawed, disjointed and the subject of idealistic escapism.