East Meets West

Cat and Grasshopper | Edwin HK Chau

Edwin H.K. Chau (1929-1988) a Canadian artist of Chinese descent, created beautiful paintings in which east meets west. These works balance, straddle and integrate the lines between contemporary/traditional subject matter and east/west vision and methods. Chau’s work is best characterized as being painterly and somewhat impressionistic. In the Eastern tradition, each and every brushstroke counts and the calligraphic beauty of the strokes is as important as what they are depicting. Regardless of subject matter, the quality of the brush strokes, the ambience created by the background and the overall composition are each important and distinctive qualities that at the same time must blend in perfect harmony. Chau applied Eastern methods and perspective to contemporary Western subject matter, making his subjects – whether streets, boats, buildings, people, flowers, still life or landscapes – take on an ethereal, almost timeless quality. At the same time, many of his works with Chinese subject matter – such as the rural street scenes of 1950s Hong Kong – take on a bolder, more textured character using Western techniques. This cross-over styling carries through to Chau’s watercolors and oils alike.