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OUE Chak exhibit

Pictured is international artist Chung Chak’s “Stocking & Shocking.”

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Chung Chak to show artwork at Ohio University Eastern gallery

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio – International artist Chung Chak will be exhibiting his photographic artwork at the Ohio University Eastern Campus Art Gallery through Nov. 19. The exhibit, titled “Boxes,” will showcase his talents in visual semiotics. 

An artist lecture by Chak will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m. Chak’s lecture will be centered upon his work and illustrate how his foreign background has affected his image-making process and content.  A reception for the artist will immediately follow the lecture and will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. The exhibition and lecture are sponsored by Ohio University's International Education Week. 

An educator, artist and formally trained designer, Chak’s creative goal is to explore how different levels of meaning can be expressed through complex image layers. “I invent photographic metaphors that carry hidden meanings and view my imagery as timeless visual poetry with psychological impact where viewers can no longer remain passive,” said Chak. “Conceptualizing and resolving a solution is as rewarding as seeing the result.”

Chak’s cultural background plays a significant role in his image-making process. An immigrant from Hong Kong, his work consistently examines how human beings interact with their surroundings. 

“At first glance, my work does not show a strong cultural identity, but my ethnicity as an Asian male has made a significant impact on my method of art making,” he said. “My interest in Chinese handwriting, developed from pictograms, has affected my daily verbal communication skills and my interpretation of visual semiotics. In addition, my work consistently carries a theme of alienation, which probably is another indirect reflection of my foreign background.”

He continued. “I have always felt that we have little control over our lives. Therefore, I enjoy the process of photomontage because I can randomly connect unrelated persons, events and environments. My subjects may never have the chance to meet in reality, but they are permanently bound within my artwork. As a result, I find myself in absolute power to control and design.”

According to Chak, the “Boxes” series intends to illustrate stereotypes we have among the people who are different from ourselves. “For example, people often make stereotypical comments to describe groups of people, like New Yorkers or Asians. While I am intolerant of judging and labeling based on prejudice and stereotypes, I use these associations to construct narratives in my artwork and then leave it up to the audience to decide whether these stereotypes are true.” 

Chak grew up in Hong Kong and earned a master of fine arts degree in graphic design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has worked as an associate professor at The College of New Jersey since 2001.

He currently has solo exhibitions throughout the U.S. including Gallery 456 of the Chinese American Art Council, (Soho, New York City); Sumei Multicultural Center (Newark, New Jersey); Sloan Art Center Gallery (Lock Haven, Pennsylvania); Eyedrum (Atlanta, Georgia); Artspace (Raleigh, North Carolina); Selden Gallery (Norfolk, Virginia); Viewpoint Gallery of Photography (Sacramento, California) and Abrons Arts Center of Henry Street Settlement (New York City). 

He has also exhibited his work internationally at Gallery of City Museum of Aveiro (Portugal), Fridge Club (Hong Kong), and Dimbola Lodge Museum (Isle of Wight, United Kingdom).  

Chak is looking forward to the exhibition at Ohio University Eastern. “I am very excited to share my work and personal experiences with the students, faculty and larger university community,” he said. “I am hopeful that my message and work will help to inspire new talents and a better appreciation for the arts.”

The Ohio University Eastern Art Gallery displays the works of local and national artists, as well as of the faculty, staff and students of Ohio University. It is located on the second floor of Shannon Hall and is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, and 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is free. 

For more information, please contact OUEArtGallery@ohio.edu.