Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/rokcommon/RokCommon/Registry.php on line 381

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/rokcommon/RokCommon/Registry.php on line 394
isiiad - Zhong Chen

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/gantry/core/utilities/gantryregistry.class.php on line 326

Warning: Unexpected character in input: '\' (ASCII=92) state=1 in /home/isi19164/public_html/libraries/gantry/core/utilities/gantryregistry.class.php on line 339

Zhong Chen

Zhong-Chen_Archibald__finalist_s

Zhong Chen © Self-portrait on a horse. Finalist 2011 Archibald Prize.

Standing in front of Zhong Chen's self portrait at the 2011 Archibald at Tarrawarra Museum of Art, I saw a confident, brave painter.  I pondered this with him, when I met him at his studio last week.  He says that he's taught himself to be confident in front of a canvas.  He learnt that from de Kooning and Warhol. Another key to his work and this self portrait in particular, is that Zhong Chen is passionate about pushing out the boundaries of portraiture and painting in general. 

I've had to work quite hard to get a grip on his 2011 entry, but like all the best things in life, now I'm really glad I made the effort. Contemporary Art is only doing it's work if it challenges and makes you think! So I've been thinking about how I might respond if I moved from my country of origin at the age of 19, to another country with a totally different culture. I'm sure I would want to preserve something of the culture of the country I was born in.  I would no doubt be affected by the culture of my new home.  I suppose if I were a painter, I would want to express this cultural amalgam through my painting.

Zhong Chen moved from China at 19.  He came to Australia as a burgeoning artist.  He studied art in South Australia and went on to the Chelsea College of Art in London where he completed his Master of Fine Arts. His work has made the Archibald final cut before.  In fact, in 2007 he not only reached the finals, but made the final five. 

Zhong_Chen_selfportrait_s

Zhong Chen © Self Portrait 2007 Archibald Finalist

His later entry, a portrait of Charles Blackman, was a turning point for Zhong.  He realised on completing this work that there was nothing more for him to explore in the figurative portrait. He wanted to explore a new way of capturing the person in the painted portrait.

chen_charles_blackman_s

Zhong Chen © Charles Blackman 2008. Winner of the 2009 Salon des Refusés People's Choice Award.

Fast forward to 2011 and his self portrait demonstrates his preparedness to experiment.  It draws on traditional Chinese ink wash painting,  shui-mo hau, but is not confined to it.  Drips and dribbles of paint add to the visual drama. Other Chinese influences are Chinese folk art prints, folk paper cuts and Ming and Qing porcelains. The background is contemporary, simple (minimal) with colouration that's unexpected and vibrant. This is a contemporary portrait which says something important about the artist in particular and multicultural Australia in general. Zhong sees the work as part Chinese and part Australian, just like himself. In it, he sits on a horse that hints of Banjo Paterson's iconic poem, The Man from Snowy River, amidst a miriad of Chinese references.

Zhong wonders how painting can compete with the excitement that surrounds the contemporary art of the installation. (Look at the overwhelming interest that has surrounded Tasmania's MONA). This is where his confidence is his greatest asset.  I'm reminded of the line from The Man from Snowy River,

 "Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,"

It's a bold artist who is prepared to break out of the mould and try something new. With works like his 2011 portrait, it's good to know that the art of the painted portrait is alive and well in Australia.  Hurrah for the Zhong Chen and the Archibald Prize!

Zhong_Chen_studio_2_s
 
The 2011 Archibald Prize will be on show at Tarrawarra Museum of Art until the end of July.
 
Zhong Chen lives and works in Melbourne. For more information go to his website.


Parent Category: Arts
Facebook Image

Life Drawing at ACME et al

Life Drawing at ACME et al- Deshabille The French- English dictionary says the word deshabille means partly dressed, undressed or carelessly dressed. Partly dressed and undressed… More…

Yering Station Sculpture Exhibition and Awards 2011

Yering Station Sculpture Exhibition and Awards 2011 Anna-Maria Plescia©, Anew, Calico and toothpicks, 152x50x25cm. (Detail) I've got one word for you about the Yering Station… More…

A 'Clandestine' Exhibition

A 'Clandestine' Exhibition ...those words pretty much sum this one up! ACME et al have done it again. They've put on an exhibition that's a little bit of 'naughty' and a lot of… More…

Not the Archies-Award Night.

Not the Archies-Awards Night On Wednesday night hundreds of people from the Yarra Valley gathered in the Ballroom at the RACV Club in Healesville for the presentation of the Not… More…

Zhong Chen

Zhong Chen Zhong Chen © Self-portrait on a horse. Finalist 2011 Archibald Prize. Standing in front of Zhong Chen's self portrait at the 2011 Archibald at Tarrawarra Museum of Art,… More…

The Lomandra Project

The Lomandra Project and Wendy Jane Sheppard The third stop on my Healesville shop crawl, The Artist's Lounge revealed two great artists, weaver Adrienne Kneebone and painter… More…

Hamish Knox

Hamish Knox at Christmas Hills. I first met Hamish Knox via a phone call. At one stage, while looking for my little piece of heaven in Warrandyte, I was toying with the idea of… More…

Savaad Felich

Savaad Felich A week ago, I set off in the rain and the cold to visit Savaad Felich at his studio in Toolangi. The Yarra Valley looks wonderful on a sunny day with blue skies… More…

2012 Not The Archies-Peter Allen

2012 Not The Archies winner- Peter Allen You could be forgiven for wondering if I'm still not over the Archibald and am having yet another 'farewell' moment with this portrait.… More…

Xenia's Progress

Xenia's Progress Xenia Stefanescu is certainly having a bumper year. She has just been made a finalist in yet another competition (2011 Maritime Art Prize), with this painting.… More…

Ember Fairbairn is at Art Melbourne

Special Offer...Free Tickets to Art Melbourne Isiiad is offering free tickets to Art Melbourne Friday 25th May, for two lucky people. To enter...go to Isiiad's facebook page...if… More…

ACME et al

ACME et al You might have noticed that over the last few weeks I've turned my attention to the Yarra Valley. I am having so much fun there. The Archibald, Not the Archies and now… More…

Margaret McLoughlin

Margaret McLoughlin Margaret McLoughlin is experimenting with encaustic painting. This series of three encaustic paintings on board, are among her first explorations in this… More…

Yering Station

Yering Station Maria Coyle©, Children Chatting, ceramic (in foreground). A very good friend regards Yering Station as the best place to eat in the Yarra Valley. Sadly, when I went… More…

Antonio Villella

Antonio Villella I'm up early this morning to write this as Antonio is bringing one of his sculptures over to Isiiad this morning. We're going to see if it fits in the spot that I… More…

Yarra Valley Open Studios Artist- Ember Fairbairn

Yarra Valley Open Studio's Artist- Ember Fairbairn This weekend will see artists across the Yarra Valley open their studios to the public. I've had a great time catching up with… More…

Farewell the Archibald

Farewell the Archibald Juan Ford Ultrapilgrim, oil on linen, 168cm x 214cm © Juan Ford Archibald Finalist 2012 The 2012 Archibald closed at TarraWarra Museum of Art on the 8th of… More…

Michelle Mischkulnig

Michelle Mischkulnig Who could resist the riot of colour that is a hallmark of Michelle Mischkulnig's textiles. Judging from the huge success of her recent exhibition at Yering… More…

Malcolm Peel's labyrinthine studio reflects his work.

Malcolm Peel's labyrinthine studio reflects his work. Labyrinth is the best word to describe Malcolm Peel's studio. 'Invitations' to walk up and down the corridors and explore the… More…

Jenny Reddin at BSG

Jenny Reddin at BSG You already know I'm a fan of the paint pourings of Jenny Reddin. This latest exhibition shows that her work has moved into the realm of abstraction. They're… More…

Copyright

THIS ENTIRE SITE © 2010-2012 ISIIAD. ALL OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND WRITTEN MATERIAL HEREIN, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ARE COPYRIGHTED BY ISIIAD. NO PART OF THIS SITE, OR ANY OF THE CONTENT CONTAINED HEREIN, MAY BE USED OR REPRODUCED IN ANY MANNER WHATSOEVER WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.