December has brought to the gallery a new and diverse exhibition of Printmaking by Lei Cheng. His prints reflect his origins that are from a small city in the western side of the Pearl River Delta called Macau. Being acknowledged as the most densely populated region in the world, Macau is a city with strong bonds and relations between its residents. Cheng’s prints are an insight to Macau, its people and culture, its mysterious landscapes and the crowded buildings.
His paintings Soundless #1, 2 and 3 depict the three perspectives of a screaming person. Cheng’s lines and shades construct this personality which isn’t necessarily the same in all three prints. The cry of one person could express many emotions, of resentment, sorrow or even perhaps happiness. It’s this constraint of emotions in relation to the residents of Macau and its culture that Cheng is trying to convey in his work.
The title of the works ‘ Soundless’ as well as its dark shades emphasize on this idea of the restraint of one’s emotions within society and tradition. Trapped behind the glass of the frame, arguably these portraits borrow elements of the famous painting ‘The Scream’ by expressionist Edvard Munch and illustrate pain and distortion. They might even perhaps be self portraits of the artist’s own cry and attempt to express and communicate himself through art.
Visit the Strand Gallery to see Cheng’s exhibition ‘Constraints: Printmaking of Lei Cheng’ including the ‘Soundless’ Series, closes Sunday 8th of December.