Using only pencil on paper or on wood that she shapes into three-dimensional objects, artist Hsin-Hsi Chen makes incredibly precise and vertiginous renderings of imaginary architectural spaces. With a sense of beguiling whimsy, these “settings” disorient the viewer with both actual and illustrated planes and recesses that alternate in a seemingly illogical sequence.
Committed to drawing, Chen bridges the fields of fine art and illustration. She creates a complete view into her idiosyncratic, imaginary world that is both familiar and unfamiliar to the viewer. By executing incredibly large works—some are as tall as six feet—as well as by using shaped drawing surfaces and elements of installation, Chen pushes the conventions of the medium of drawing in new and unexpected ways.
Chen’s immense skill in applying graphite to paper and wood comes through in the lush tones and surfaces of her work. Some of her drawings take weeks, even months to complete, and the laborious exercise is apparent in the subtle gradation of tones and shifting shadows in the contours of her subjects. Because the medium of drawing is so obvious and uncomplicated, Chen’s work is very accessible to viewers who tend at first to be stunned by her virtuosity and then charmed by her illusions.
Chen’s highly tuned sense of craft and imagination has already gained her a respectable exhibition record in America, in addition to being awarded the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. She continues to explore her artistic vision as well as bring new relevance to one of the most traditional mediums in the art field—drawing.
- by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions at University of Richmond Museums, VA
MFA - University of Maryland at College Park, College Park, Maryland, U.S.A., 1996.
BFA - Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan, 1992.
Art Bank Permanent Collection, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH), Washington, DC, 2015.
Maryland State Arts Council Grant - Individual Artist Award, Baltimore, Maryland, 2013.
Permanent Art Collection, Brooklyn Art Library, Brooklyn, New York, 2011.
The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, New York, New York, 2007-2008.
The Viewing Program, The Drawing Center, New York, New York, 1995, 2006-2010.
Art Critic, Advanced Drawing Critique, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, 2007.
Art Judge, The 2007 Regional Scholastic Art Competition, Drawing/Visual Art, Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia, 2007.
Permanent Art Collection, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 2006.
Solo Show Competition Award, Montpelier Cultural Arts Center, Laurel, Maryland, 2000.
Cover Award of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, The University of Chicago Press/The University of Washington, Chicago/Seattle, Illinois/Washington, winter issue, 1999.
Critics' Residency Program, Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, Maryland, 1998-1999.
Artsites 98', Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, Virginia, 1998.
Hillyer Art Space, Washington, DC, 2012-2016.
Peng Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2010-2014.
Gallery Neptune, Bethesda, Maryland, 2009-2010.
The Drawing Center, New York, New York, 2006-2010.
Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, DC, 2004-present.
Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, Maryland, 1997-present.
Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington, DC, 1999-2001.
C. Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland, 1998-1999.
Troyer Fitzpatrick Lassman Gallery, Washington, DC, 1996-1998.
College Art Association, New York, 1996-1997.
Texas Fine Arts Association, Texas, 1996-1997.
The Illustrators Club, Washington, DC, 1996-1997.
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