Born in China in 1955, Shen Chen is a New York based artist. He began his art education in high school and continued his training at Shanghai Art College. He moved to Beijing after earning his BFA from the Shanghai Academy of Theater in 1982. In 1988, he came to the United States on a fellowship as artist in residence and continued his studies at Boston University on an MFA scholarship the following year. He has lived in New York since 1991.
Shen Chen recapitulates the meditative and deliberative brushwork associated with traditional Chinese ink brush painting. His language, however, is contemporary. His fully abstract paintings, which reference the aesthetics of minimalism, are a study of brushstroke, color, and tonality. To create his subtle umber surfaces, Shen paints with a wide variety of traditional Chinese brushes. Working with canvas on the studio floor, he layers the surface by moving progressively top down, in a vertical motion. The discrete horizontal lines visible on the surface are a record of where each vertical brushstroke began and stopped. It is this meticulous layering of color that achieves the resonant tonal hues of his paintings, which also manifests his rigorous discipline.
“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
“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.” Robert Morgan
His works have been exhibited at various art museums, including National Art Museum of China, Roma Academy of Fine Arts, Today Art Museum, Queens Museum of Art, Bochum Museum, Shanghai University Museum, Hexiangning Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Chinese in America, Epoch Art Museum, Yuan Art Museum，Himalaya Museum of Art, Singer Museum of Art, Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Museum Hurrle Durbach and ME Collection Berlin. His works are in many public and private collections including ME Collection Berlin (Germany), Aszo Nobel Art Foundation (Netherland), Duke Energy Corporation (USA), Johnson & Johnson Foundation (USA), Today Art Museum (China), Stibbe Collection, (Netherlands), Shanghai University (China), San Shang Museum of Contemporary Art (China), etc.