Judy Cheng’s paintings are, in a sense, the antithesis to prevailing notions of landscape painting. She doesn’t depict rolling hills, grand vistas, peaks and clouds, rather, she offers a study of what the landscape is really composed of. Under the tutelage of her close friend, legendary Vancouver artist Gordon Smith, Judy’s evocative, energetic pictures point their gaze downwards and straight ahead into the thickets. As she wrestles with the raw canvas, everything is brought directly to the front of the picture plane while pockets of space and depth are discovered and carved out of the composition. The branches, bushes, dirt, sticks, snow, leaves, and flowers jostle for position, crafting a dense, rhythmic mosaic.

The result is an act of honest landscape painting. Using her brush, Cheng signifies all the energy and vitality of natural life out of a seemingly innocuous patch of grass. A stroke of brown perfectly emulates the essence of a twig, it is in this seemingly impulsive application of paint that her marks begin to take on a meaning closer to that of reality; resembling structures of arrangements in nature that we find in any forest, along any path – a network of deeply layered and complex randomness which exists wherever we might choose to look.

Judy Cheng:  “You begin to see beyond the subject and color, and eventually you just allow the paint to move you. Painting has given me a different perspective of looking at your surroundings. I see art in everything and it inspires me to continue to create, experience and enjoy.”

Gordon Smith: “For many years I have been privileged to have known and worked with great architects and artists. I have taught at all levels, at UBC, Emily Carr and others. Judy and Jim Cheng have been friends of mine for many years. Judy has visited my studio and shown me her work; she understands what painting is all about. Before it is a landscape it is the act of painting, like a de Kooning. We have shared experiences photographing images together, but her painting is her own and I admire her work very much. I have learned from her.”

Judy Cheng’s CV


Judy Cheng Valley

Valley  2018
Acrylic on canvas  60″ x 72″


Cypress Roadside  2016
Acrylic on canvas  48″ x 60″


Snow Trail V  2016
Acrylic on canvas  48″ x 60″


Judy Cheng Nature 42x48

Nature  2017
Acrylic on canvas  42″ x 48″


Judy Cheng Fall 60x40

Fall  2017
Acrylic on canvas 60″ x 40″


This artist’s work is represented in