Sammy Chong, visiting lecturer in the Boston College Fine Arts Department, will show an exhibition in the Bapst Gallery throughout the month of February. In the exhibition, Amidst, Chong explores the ways people experience the world in urban spaces.
He confronts the idea that close contact with millions of strangers can, paradoxically, leave the individual feeling distanced. “Common spaces make objective the different forms of solitude that are linked to the ever-expanding modern urban centers,” says Chong, “As we are forced to inhabit public spaces with others, the visible distance between people can be a reflection of an intangible, yet deeper, personal disjunction.”
In addition, Chong considers the meditation or suspension we might find in the safety of isolation in modern technology. Imagine, for example, a person on a crowded train, surrounded by people and yet absorbed in a smart phone.
“The name of the show,” says Chong, “connotes both the inner mindset and the physical environment we find ourselves in when we are on the move, in our routines. Instead of uncomfortable feelings of alienation and loss, I attempt to gain awareness of the meditative nature of being both immersed in and removed from the activity around us.”
Amidst is a multimedia collection of three-dimensional paintings on plexiglass. Each layer of plexiglass is meant to be viewed both as an individual painting and as a part of a multidimensional work.
In Chong’s pieces, the plexiglass layers emphasize the day-to-day collision of human experiences and indicate the metaphorical separation between people in public spaces. Chong uses the plexiglass to imply this separation—“its transparency points to the invisible barriers which isolate individuals from one another and from the self.”
Unlike two-dimensional images, the three-dimensional complexity of the pieces encourages viewers to take an active role in making meaning of the whole.
The exhibition also evolves from Chong’s theological and philosophical interests. Chong, who currently teaches “The Art of Portraiture” in the Fine Arts Department at BC, holds degrees in philosophy, theology, and fine art. As part of his Jesuit education, he studied philosophy at Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Columbia, and theology at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA. He began his work as an artist as a self-taught painter, but now holds an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
On Tuesday, February 5, at 4:00pm, an opening reception will take place in the Bapst Gallery. Admission is free and open to the public. Amidst will run February 4 – February 28, 2013. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 617-552-4935.