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DeWitt Cheng

DeWitt Cheng is an artist, collector, freelance art writer, educator, and curator based in San Francisco.

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     DeWitt Cheng's paintings of surreal imaginary creatures combine oneiric strangeness with aggression and pathos. "I came to art in the late 60s/early 70s through surrealism. For me, this dream imagery from the 1920s through the 1940s commented on the human condition in a more interesting, relevant and challenging way than the formalist modes of expression claimed by most other artists at the time. I slowly developed a method of realizing my intuitions: collage and drawing, intuitively and persistently worked, could be made to yield strange hybrid beings both frightening and funny, emotion-laden and enigmatic. Pairing these mythic images with titles from religious and poetic texts created a kind of frozen silent cinema in which provocative and ambivalent visual metaphors played out human dramas with an unsettling combination of seriousness and irony." DeWitt Cheng's paintings have been exhibited at the Vorpal Gallery, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, The Oakland Museum, and, more recently, at Inferno Gallery in Oakland and Micaela Gallery in San Francisco.

     His writing has been published by Artweek, Art News, Print Impressions, The California Printmaker, Slurry Magazine, Gusto, Eye of the Art, Art for Real, Art Revolutionaries, Shotgun Review, Art Ltd., ArtSlant, and, of course, San Francisco Art Magazine. An essay on the activist printmaker was published in "Richard V. Correll: Prints and Drawings." He has written on many artists for both print and internet, both emerging and established, including: J.C. Garrett, Gale Hart, Katherine Fishburn, David Avery, Nikolai Atanassov, Mark Grim, Julia d'Arcy, Warner Williams, Nils Krueger, Kathleen King, Claudia Tennyson, Laurie Lipton, Claudia Chapline, Michelle Waters, Art Hazelwood, Philip Guston, Robert Buelteman, David Gilhooly, Charles Long, Susan Danis, Calixto Robles, Cherie Raciti, Jack Levine, Brigette Burns, Patricia Walsh, Melissa Wood, Alexandra Blum, Yunsook Park, Ann Gale, George Lawson, and William Wolff. In addition to writing for publications, he also writes for artists, galleries, art publishers, and museums; please send inquiries through East Bay Express.

     In 2006, DeWitt Cheng curated the annual student art show at Skyline College, served on the jury for Art for Aids, curating its gallery exhibition at Arthaus in San Francisco, was a speaker at a San Francisco Art Institute Art Writing seminar, and delivered a talk at The 8 Gallery in San Francisco. He curated "Hybrids: Contemporary Bay Area Surrealism" for the Peninsula Museum of Art in Belmont, CA, which ran from October 29, 2006-January 7, 2007. It featured the work of Ariel, Arthur Bell, DeWitt Cheng, Susan Danis, David Dion, Mark Grim, William Harsh, John Hundt, Michael Pollice, Gary-Paul Prince, and Ribitch.

articles by DeWitt Cheng appearing elsewhere

Philip Guston (museum retrospective)

Theophilus Brown

Leonora Carrington