Thursday, September 18, 2008


You don't know what you have 'till its gone.
I miss electricity. As I sit in a coffee shop 4 1/2 days after my electricity went out (due to Ike) I have been thinking about the way artists have explored the subject of electricity in art.

My immediate thought was local artist Ying Kit Chan. I was first exposed to this artist's work when I was a graduate student at U of L. One afternoon, taking a break from writing my thesis in the Bridwell Art Library, I wandered across the hall and discovered charcoal drawings the size of Mack trucks hanging on the walls. The drawings were depictions of telephone lines as seen from the ground, looking up. The dark lines against the white background created in such a large format was overwhelming, threatening, and thrilling. Artists have the job of exploring subjects in ways that average people don't think about them. Today, as I look at Ying Kit Chan's work I wonder if he was exploring the power electricity has over our lives. Because of my current lack of power, I know I am looking at his pieces in a different way than the first day that I saw them. Right now they are evil towers keeping me from hot coffee in the morning and the season premiere of my favorite television show.
Ying Kit Chan was born in Hong Kong in 1953 and moved to the United States in 1979. He received his B.F.A. from the University of Oklahoma in 1981 and his M.F.A. from the University of Cincinnati in 1983. Currently, he is a Professor of Fine Arts and Head of Studio Programs at the Allen R. Hit Art Institute at the University of Louisville.
"Industrial Site"
Charcoal on Paper
42" X 84"

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