The striking and seemingly inexplicable scenes of Brent Wong startled and enthralled a Wellington public in his first solo show of 1969. His exquisitely rendered visions soon took their hold nation-wide.
Born in 1945, Wong was brought up and schooled in Wellington. He studied at the Wellington Polytechnic College, however left after a year, disillusioned with the College’s move away from fine arts training. From the early 1960s onwards he drew on a number of inspirations. Among them were his local natural and architectural environment, magazine reproductions, and international artists such as Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky with their emphases on the spiritual and intuitive, the mesmerising skies of English Romantic Joseph Mallord William Turner and the emotionally loaded and painstaking paintings of American painter Andrew Wyeth.
Against clear blue Wellington skies, curious formations of masonry loom over isolated hills and coast-lines. The dilapidated colonial dwellings which often feature are as emblematic as the disquieting monoliths above and the cloud formations beyond; they are carriers of emotional and psychic states. For the New Zealand public, these incredible combinations cast a familiar island country into a strange and new realisation.