SHEN CHEN At Queens International 2006

Valerie Smith | 2006

Queens Museum of Art —— A Catalogue essay              


We have lost the ability to experience time and the ability to see. To really see takes time, and this integrated practice is a form of generosity that is rare. Shen Chen has this knowledge and he has carefully cultivated over the years. In the underground studio, which is his inner sanctum, Chen has been developing a series of monochromatic canvases. A base paint is first applied and then a grey acrylic. The image is reduced to a progression of vertical veils that shift from left to right as your eye passes through them. Another series plays with the idea of mountain mists or smoke and takes that tradition quite far into the abstract realm. The subjects of a mountain or a forest are far from daily recognition. What does emerge is a highly considered process that is immersive, if you allow it to be, and can transport you by subtle means to a peaceful place where there is time.


Shen Chen was born in Shanghai, China, in 1955, and now lives in Forest Hills, Queens. He received his B.F.A. from Shanghai Art College, Shanghai, China (1978), his second B.F.A. from Shanghai Academy of Theater, Shanghai, China (1982), and his M.F.A from Boston University, Boston, MA (1990). His selected exhibitions include: Shen Chen: Recent Paintings, Gallery 456, New York, NY (2006); International Modern Ink Painting, Asian Culture Center, New York, NY (2006); New Chinese Occidentalism, Ethan Cohen Gallery, New York, NY(2006); Simplicity, Crystal Foundation Art Gallery, New York, NY(2005); Between the lines, China 2000 Fine Art Gallery, New York, NY(2003); and Shen Chen, Ink Paintings, Gallery White Art, Tokyo, Japan (1994).




 Valerie Smith


is an art critic, curator and the Director of Exhibitions at the Queens Museum of Art.