Matthew Wong’s pieces in Dallas Art Museum

“The Realm of Appearances” by artist Matthew Wong will be displayed in the Dallas Art Museum, three years after his death according to an Artsy article. They say, 

“In 2018, artist Matthew Wong made headlines for his critically acclaimed New York solo debut at Karma; in 2019, for his death by suicide at age 35; and from 2020 onwards, for the prices his paintings have fetched at auction. Interpretations of Wong’s work have since often been colored by the sensationalizing lore of the tortured artist. It seems the story of his career will always focus on its ending, forever entangling biography with artistic practice.

Wong’s first museum retrospective, on view through February 19, 2023, shifts Wong’s singular talent to the forefront, where it rightfully belongs. An unexpected homecoming for the artist, “The Realm of Appearances” is organized and presented by the only institution to acquire his work during his lifetime—the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA). Curated by Dr. Vivian Li, the DMA’s Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art, the illuminating exhibition opened on October 16th, just over three years after Wong’s death on October 2, 2019. Organized thematically and roughly chronologically, the retrospective conveys the experimental evolution of a prolific artist who only worked in earnest for about seven years and exhibited for three.”

Prior to his death, Matthew Wong wrote an essay where he admitted that there is an uncertainty in his career of painting but that uncertainty kept him moving forward until later on, he would find his vision and expression according to a Kera News article which reports, 

“I’m still working to come into my own, so I cannot say with any assurance what the meaning or significance of my body of work is yet, but at the moment what sustains me is an enthusiasm and faith in the fact that even though I never know where I’m going with a painting, I will eventually get there. The surprise of finding out is what keeps me going from painting to painting.”

Thankfully, soon thereafter Wong’s work takes a turn for the better. Aside from the ink-and-paper works, this next period before his death proves to be his most substantial. During 2018 and 2019, the artist starts to envision paintings that build upon each other.

Prior to this moment, Wong’s talent seems not always at his full disposal; he will make a confident painting and then another that feels amateurish to a fault. In these last years of his life, however, the consistency of his expression is considerable.”

The exhibit of “The Realm of Appearances” which originally came from an oil painting of Wong, will continue to be exhibited until February 19, 2023.