A fluent storyteller, Howie Tsui’s densely detailed narrative artworks merge legend, cosmologies, and his own personal history into hyper-kinetic, panoramic dramas. Born in Hong Kong, raised in Nigeria and Canada, Tsui’s visual vocabulary spans art history from Ancient China up to contemporary pop culture, and includes both Eastern and Western canons. His gruesome, thrilling imagination brings nightmares of the past back from the grave, but he tempers the gore with a wry sense of humor and dynamic compositional sensibility.
Drawing imagery and inspiration from Buddhist Hell scrolls, Anime, ancient cosmology, traditional Chinese landscape painting, Edo-period Japanese woodblock erotica, and contemporary street art, Tsui ‘s characters run the gamut from Kawaii princesses to Shogun warriors, from ghosts, frogs, and demons to the artist’s deceased ancestors. Distinctive trees, architecture, and landforms provide a rich context to each scene and create a dreamy, shifting sense of place, similar to those produced by Marcel Dzama or Amy Cutler.
Radiant Specters includes several ambitious works in ink wash on paper as well as sculpture, and Tsui’s past repertoire includes installation and performance, and his works have been included in exhibitions and collections in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Australia, with notable museum shows such as the Phantoms of Asia at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, and prominent acquisitions including the permanent collection at Musée d'art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul, in Quebec.
Howie Tsui received a BFA with Honors from the University of Waterloo, and has received the Corel Endowment Fund for the Arts Award, the Joseph S. Stauffer Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the RBC Emerging Artist Award. He has had solo exhibitions at the Agnes Etherington Art Center in Kingston, and at many galleries in Ottawa, Toronto, and Winnipeg, and his work has been included in group exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, and Sydney, among others. His work has been reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Ottawa Citizen, Border Crossings, and Canadian Art, among many others. This is his first exhibition with Frey Norris.
During the opening reception on Thursday, September 6th and on October 13th at 5pm, there will be an experimental video with sound and performance by composer, Luciano Chessa and artist, Dana Harel at Frey Norris. The event is free and open to the public.