Art students visiting the SAMC Gallery at Trinity Western University. (TWU)

Art students visiting the SAMC Gallery at Trinity Western University. (TWU)

Cracks in the road inspire Langley artist

TWU alum looks at images of asphalt that has been broken and mended, like ‘scars on a body’

Russell Leng, TWU alum and instructor in art and design, has turned brokenness into beauty.

His project, “Crack Sealing,” first conceived of as a book and created for the Vancouver Art Book Fair in 2020, captures images of asphalt that has been broken and mended, like “the scars on a body.”

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In his artist statement, Leng writes that his work is reminiscent of “the Japanese craft of mending, often with gold, to assert that an object has more value when it is used, broken, and repaired.”

“The broken line is preserved and revered.”

The cracked and colorful pathways on Leng’s work welcome viewers to interact with them.

“Fingers can trace the shapes and lines on each page,” Leng explains. By tracing the jagged paths, viewers can experiment with “tactile prayer”.

Leng’s project has since been exhibited in various galleries and online platforms.

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It is currently showing as part of a larger exhibition called “all who wander,” at the SAMC Gallery at the Langley campus inside TWU’s Norma Marion Alloway Library, until Nov. 14.

It is a collaborative exhibition featuring artwork by Leng and fellow TWU alums Kristin Voth Davies, Kat Grabowski, and Sarah Wright.

TWU alumni artists Kristin Voth Davies, Sarah Wright, Russell Leng, and Kat Grabowski. (TWU)

TWU alumni artists Kristin Voth Davies, Sarah Wright, Russell Leng, and Kat Grabowski. (TWU)

Davies’ paintings are inspired by childhood photographs, and reflect the vulnerability and loneliness that is sometimes hidden behind our album-ready images.

Grabowski’s photographs challenge society’s understanding of femininity, while Wright’s weavings, constructed from discarded materials found in her East Vancouver neighborhood, are a testament to “what it means to make, mend and share in a wasteland.”


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