Shen Chen Bio

Shen Chen

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

Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Rechlinghausen, Germany, 2015
Singer Museum of Art, Singer Laren, Netherlands, 2014
Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY, 2014
Museum of Modert Art, Shanghai, China, 2012
Museum of Chinese in America, New York, 2012
Commission, Duke Energy, Charlotte, NC, 2011

Shen Chen’s meticulous layering of color resonates tonal hues, and manifests as 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.

As art critic Robert Morgan describes, “Chen inhabits the domain of his materials in order to evoke their feeling, to give them a monumental vastness, a space without measure. Chen realized long ago, at the outset of his journey into painting, a discovery whereby the mystic wave of ink became the means to transform the wetness of acrylic into something both ancient and fully modern at the same moment. He knew then that the space of the picture plane was not something given to him. Rather space is what the artist creates – a living, breathing space – that helps deliver what is miraculous in painting”.

Overlaying of strokes is an action of negating. I cover 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 stream of consciousness. The strokes as artworks are but the remainder of the process and the trace of time and spirit. — Shen Chen