End of the Day

Matthew Wong Canadian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 915

Wong, a Canadian artist of Chinese heritage, was known for his vividly colored oils on canvas and gouaches on paper that often feature a solitary figure in an imagined landscape. End of the Day belongs to Blue (2017–19), the final series of his brief career. The dark blue sky, painted with smooth, horizontal strokes, fades into a spectrum of blood orange. A crescent moon hangs high and, directly below, a person stands on the riverbank. Across the center of the composition, wavy black strokes resemble snow-capped mountains or theatrical curtains drawn up to reveal towering, densely overlapping trees. The fantastical forest, meticulously rendered in pointillist patterns and fluid lines in cerulean, sapphire, indigo, cobalt, and navy, highlights Wong’s masterful handling of color, brushstrokes, and composition. While referencing landscapes by Vincent van Gogh and Henri Rousseau, two of Wong’s artistic heroes, End of the Day also suggests connections to the moon image in Chinese poetry, often associated with longing and the fleeting of time.

End of the Day, Matthew Wong (Canadian, Toronto 1984–2019 Edmonton), Oil on canvas

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© 2023 Matthew Wong Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York. Photography: Alex Yudzon / Cheim & Read, New York.