Over the course of Ming Fay's long and impressive career as an artist, nature has always been the inspiration. In recent years, Fay's imagination has been captivated by the garden as a symbol of abundance and the place where mankind will achieve "the ultimate desirable state of being." It represents a balanced relationship between the rawness of natural forces and mankind, the cultivators and tenders of nature. His work addresses the notion prevalent in Western culture that nature is just the backdrop in front of which humans conduct their lives. This cultural disconnect is the reason that, in Fay's words, "...we are consumed with desires and longing for a lost utopia."
Canutopia, a word combining "canopy" and "utopia," is Fay's vision for a possible future in which mankind is harmoniously enfolded into the realm of nature, represented by a floating forest canopy, lush and teeming with fanciful, magical forms of flora and fauna. It is a feast for the eyes, the mind, and the spirit. Bowers of oversized fruites and seeds, draped and arrayed throughout the East Gallery, are populated with colorful, animated forms and shapes, existing easily alongside tiny cavorting humans, horses and other creatures.
A complex piece, both metaphorically and visually, Canutopia is actually composed of simple materials. For many components, Fay made armatures of wire over which he applied papier maché, fibers, paint and polyurethane. For others, he used found objects, such as interestingly shaped branches and cast off toys. Recently Fay has added spray foam and colorful foam "noodles" to his arsenal of materials.
Although his utopian canopy delights the senses, Fay is very serious about its intent as a transformative force. The experience of Canutopia is an art intervention, redirecting our conception of the world and showing us the way to a renewing and fulfilling place. He draws parallels between the work of the gardener and of the artist, each of whom respectfully studies, cultivates and modifies nature to draw our attention to its power and mystery, it's beauty and abundance.