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Home  >  Artists  >  Shen Chen


Shanghai, China  b.1955

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 (previously known as the Shanghai “5.7” Art School).  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 at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Later that year, he moved to New York upon receiving an exchange student fellowship from the Studio School of Painting and Sculpture.  He continued his studies at Boston University on an MFA scholarship the following year.  He has lived in New York since1991.


In the 1980s, Shen Chen was one of China’s pioneers of Chinese abstract painting and experimental ink painting. He was an active member of “Art Salon” (an underground art movement). In 1978, he organized an experimental exhibition “Wild Rose” while he was still in college.  Since then, he has shown his works at various art museums, including the Shanghai Art Museum and Ningbo Museum of Art. He held his first solo show in 1984 at the China Journalist Society in Beijing, collaborating with galleries in Asia, Europe and America, and has continued showing his work in China and abroad at venues including the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), Roma Academy of Fine Arts, Today Art Museum, Nantong Museum of Art, San Shang Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai University Museum, Queens Museum of Art, Zhendai Museum of Modern Art, Hexiangning Museum of Contemporary Art, Xi Hu Art Museum, Doulun Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Chinese in America, Ming Yuan Museum of Art, Epoch Art Museum, Yuan Art Museum,Himalaya Museum of Art, Singer Museum of Art, Bochum Museum, Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Museum Hurrle Durbach and ME Collection Berlin.


After thirty years of practicing and creating art, Shen has become an artist with a profound influence in today’s art world, stirring “us to think and to perceive aesthetically, to open new conduits of perception and thought in the act of painting and in the reasoned meditative pose necessary to appreciate truly significant abstract painting.” (Robert C. Morgan) His work blends multiple cultural elements as he layers concepts of time and space with Zen philosophy, meditation, and repetition.  Lilly Wei notes how, “in this perceptual vanishing and reconstitution, a cycle of meditation is established for the viewer in which what exists and what does not is inseparable.”  Valerie Smith further emphasizes “what does emerge is a highly considered process that is immersive to a peaceful place where there is time.”   His paintings transport us—they bring us “full circle; just as the breath moves from emptiness to plenitude, so does our mind appreciate the void out of which all things originate.” (Jonathan Goodman)

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