March 2019 Excalibur Online
“Art is powerful, experiential and experimental,” Those are the words of Wendy Lu, a Taiwanese-Canadian, hard-of-hearing artist and York graduate of a specialised honours Bachelor’s degree of fine arts in visual arts. She overcame many challenges, including undergoing brain surgery, three cochlear implant surgeries, and the loss of family members to illness. Lu explains that her university journey gave her the confidence and strength to express her creative voice in a variety of artworks. These experiences taught her about the fragility of life, which is reflected in Lu’s solo exhibition displayed in the RTTC Saulter Street Stairwell Gallery. This exhibit was inspired by her artistic interpretation of Christian beliefs and the challenges she has, and continues to face, with her hearing disabilities.
A wide variety of colours and textures creates a fun and lively environment within the cozy stairwell gallery. From acrylics and colour pencils to digital, the artworks invite us as viewers to contemplate our own relationship between technology and society.
Several of Wendy Lu’s paintings on display in the Saulter Street Stairwell Gallery
Lu also attempts to bring together the ideas of social and technological disconnection by drawing upon her personal experiences of social isolation due to hearing loss. Bold, organic strokes enables viewers to see how each line came together to create the artwork. This creates a connection between the artwork and the viewer’s perception, allowing those with different perspectives to explore and understand another’s viewpoint. “My favourite pieces were the coloured pencil ones. I liked seeing how the colours and strokes overlap to blend and create interesting shapes and forms, which left lots of room for imagination,” says a third-year student who visited the exhibition, and wishes to remain anonymous. “The bright colours felt whimsical and reminded me of illustrations seen in Dr. Seuss books,” they added. “I felt that it was a homely and playful exhibition!”
Lu reveals that she is also influenced by society’s mask of benevolence, genetic engineering, barriers to communication, and the Deaf and Disability Arts movement. She aims to use her art as a powerful way to communicate with people and promote public awareness about hearing disabilities. This vibrant solo exhibition is yet another step in achieving her goals. It is important to ensure spaces for self-expression and open discussion remain available to the public. Being able to share one’s personal journey, through art and other media, builds relationships by allowing others to relate through their shared experiences. “I would advise young, budding artists to explore, create, and experiment with various types of artworks that will make a positive change in this contemporary art world,” says Lu. She looks forward to creating and appreciating new breakthroughs in her own and others’ artistic journeys that can positively impact and inspire lives.