Ed Pien’s Delightful Haven

Detail of "The Night Gathering" by Ed Pien

Ed Pien has a permanent scar on the tip of his index finger. After discovering the traditional Chinese way of cutting paper several years go, he creates grand 3D realms and environments with an X-Acto knife. Welcome to Haven of Delight, Pien’s hauntingly beautiful exhibit on display at The Rooms Provincial Gallery.

“I cut vertically,” says Pien. “Even though I have an image to work with while cutting, I am still doing a lot of improvisation in order to feel that there is a continued sense of exploration and negotiation with making the paper-cut.”

Haven of Delight exhibit features an out of this world installation; it’s an all encompassing paper maze of celestial celebration. Haven of Delight is a universe in itself. Viewers are welcomed into the tranquility of the grand-scale sanctuary where imagination, myth and spirits come to life.

Pien’s ethereal paper cut-outs begin as a photograph, images of trees and human figures. He combines the two digital photographs and manipulates it until the visual aligns with his mind’s eye.

“I am interested in exploring realms where language is inadequate to explain away mysteries and wonders,” he says.

On the night of Haven of Delight‘s opening Pien wandered around with a small keychain flashlight, asking patrons to hold it up at eyelevel. The small light showcased an entirely different interpretation, Haven of Delight became lucid, a dream within a dream. Pien is fascinated with the unconscious, a realm when reality gives way and our minds are free to roam wild and our hearts purest.

“My attempt is to create tensions within the work while removing binaries,” says Pien. “It is my hope that as a result, the work would succeeded in allowing multiple interpretations to take place.”

The Toronto-based contemporary visual artist is a mythmaker. For over 25 years Pien has toyed with contrasts, good and evil, demons and humans. He creates his own visual language of tales and myth. Haven of Delight wanders through a storybook of the fantastical, featuring a cast of characters: birds, bats, human figures that morph into animals and intrigue. In The Safety Of The Trees is a misty walk through the woods, with its purple sky and soft silhouettes. Pien uses art to negotiate the gap between his imagination and the world.

“It’s an excuse to be curious, to take risks and be fearless without concern of failure.”

Ed Pien’s Haven of Delight is on at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery until November 28.