Shen Chen Bio

Shen Chen

years with Cynthia-Reeves: 10
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Singer Museum of Art, Singer Laren, Netherlands
Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY
Museum of Modert Art, Shanghai, China
Museum of Chinese in America, New York
Fortune 500 Company, Charlotte, NC, commission

Overlaying of strokes is an action of negating. I cover the paint with paint in order for a painting to dissolve the painting itself. Such dissolution is a long process that involves time and order, stretching from the beginning to the end. Through the very intimate process of ‘stroke-laying’, the artist thereby enters a void and dismisses all thinking. Such reflection of the inner spirit is a poem of a stream of consciousness. The strokes as artworks are but the remainder of the process and the trace of time and spirit.  –Shen Chen

Shen Chen’s meticulous layering of color belies a rigorous discipline grounded in a meditation on breath. To create his subtle ombré surfaces, Chen works with the canvas on the studio floor. He layers the paint in precisely calibrated vertical brushstrokes; the discrete horizontal lines visible on the surface are a record of where each brushstroke – and attendant breath – ends.  Of the latest body of work and his studio practice in general, American art critic Robert Morgan, who has studied Chen’s work for a decade, writes in the artist’s catalogue:

In contrast to other important Chinese artists living or who have lived in New York, Chen functions solely as a painter.  He is very clear about his position.  He is committed to painting as a form that gives him space and time to do what he wants and to express what he needs (without necessarily being expressive).  For Shen Chen, there is no reason to take photographs or to make installations. He has no incentive to perform or participate in media-driven spectacles that, in recent years, have seduced so many artists. He is a painter, specifically an abstract painter, intent on working with the surface, using acrylic paint the way he was trained to use ink. (Robert C. Morgan, “Paintings in Memory of Time and Infinity”, 2014.)

Shen Chen is a Chinese painter who now lives full time in New York.  He earned his BFA from the Shanghai Academy of Theater in 1982, and an MFA at Boston University in 1989. Since the 1980s, Chen was among China’s burgeoning pioneers of abstract painting and experimental ink painting. His career spans several international museum exhibitions including Shanghai Art Museum, Ningbo Museum of Art National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), Roma Academy of Fine Arts, Rome, Italy; Today Art Museum, Beijing, China; Nantong Museum of Art, Nantong, China; San Shang Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China; Shanghai University Museum, Shanghai, China; Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY; Zhendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China; Hexiangning Museum of Contemporary Art, Shenzhen, China; Xi Hu Art Museum, Hangzhou, China;  Doulun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China;  Museum of Chinese in America, New York, NY; Singer Museum of Art, Singer Laren, Netherlands; Kuntsmuseum Bochum, Bochum, Germany; and Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Rechlinghausen, Germany.