Jun Chen

New Spring

8 November — 24 November 2018

Born 1960, China
Lives and works in Brisbane

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Jun Chen's latest exhibition is a celebration of landscape and seasonal renewal, manifesting in powerful, subliminal messaging. 

New Spring is Chen’s first exhibition at Nanda\Hobbs since joining the gallery in early 2018. At its core, New Spring intends to engage and captivate the viewer with dynamic swaths of oil paint that dance over the canvas. There is an immediate compositional reference to the idea of the 'beautiful'—a key genre in the grand tradition of landscape painting. The practice of imaging the landscape extends far beyond the romantic traditions of Claude Lorrain and the energetic brushstrokes of Claude Monet. Image makers from history in all cultures have investigated, made and celebrated the natural world. Indeed, Chen owes much to his Chinese cultural heritage for the sensitivity of his mark making.

As with all paintings that are representative in subject matter, the first hurdle for the artist is to achieve a likeness. I would argue that this is a learned skill. The second task is to elevate the work to a more esoteric level, where, we as viewers feel what the artist feels. This is a harder, more poetic and intuitive task—to make a link that extends beyond the 'real' and into the other part of our cortex that feels the vision as created by the artist. It is this that is remarkable—the moment where a line tells a story, where colour impacts our mood, and where we fall in love with the extended sense of primavera. These are images that allude to the central and dynamic life force that is acknowledged throughout art history. 

Regeneration in nature, with its cyclical and all-pervasive influence on our psyche, is in many respects the very essence and the key to the human condition. Ultimately, nature provides a metaphor for our eternal search for order in the world—in life and our desire for beauty. Chen, through his viscous painterly articulation, weaves the oil paint as though it were a fine tread in a monastic tapestry. Instead of the loom, this tapestry in paint is carved with the pallet knife, rendering the surface fresh and as alive as the buds that are imaged in the composition.

Jun Chen's training in China's Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts—where he mastered traditional ink painting in the 1980s—has provided a foundation from which he developed his oil painting oeuvre, ultimately launching his celebrated Australian career. Chen is a multiple finalist in the coveted Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes. His portrait of the late Sydney art dealer; Ray Hughes, was highly commended by the judges in the 2017 Archibald Prize. The National Portrait Gallery recently commissioned a portrait by Chen of former dancer, Li Cunxin for its exhibition titled 20/20, celebrating the gallery’s 20th anniversary. The exhibition is on show at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra until 10 February 2019, after which the work will remain in the gallery’s public collection.

Ralph Hobbs

\ Exhibition featured works

Jun Chen

A Red Tree

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 74.5 x 85cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Big Red Tree

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 156 x 213cm

Jun Chen

Blue With Red

2017 \ Ceramic \ 44 x 44 x 43cm

Jun Chen

Blue With White

2017 \ Ceramic \ 37 x 37 x 29.5cm

Jun Chen

Evening

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 100 x 102cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Fence

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 100 x 102cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Four Magnolia Trees

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 100 x 102cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Green Light

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 136 x 160cm

Jun Chen

Grey Sky

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 100 x 102cm

Jun Chen

Jacaranda Trees

2017 \ Oil on canvas \ 100 x 102cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Lilies

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 100 x 102cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Magnolia Trees

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 198.5 x 301cm

Jun Chen

Magnolia Trees 2

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 136 x 160.5cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Nude 1

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 126.5 x 78cm

Jun Chen

Nude 2

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 126.5 x 78cm

Jun Chen

Nude 3

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 126.5 x 78cm

Jun Chen

Nude 4

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 126.5 x 78cm

Jun Chen

Peach Flower

2017 \ Ceramic \ 38.5 x 15 x 15cm

Jun Chen

Rail Trail

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 136.4 x 162.4cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Red Fields 2

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 138.5 x 180cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Red Flower

2017 \ Ceramic \ 43 x 43 x 43cm

HOLD

Jun Chen

Red Flower 2

2017 \ Ceramic \ 45 x 45 x 40cm

Jun Chen

Red House

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 100 x 102.6cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Red Trees with Blue Sky

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 100 x 102cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Red Village 2

2018 \ 180.5 x 300cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Red and Grey Sky

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 136 x 198.5cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Three Yellow Magnolia Trees

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 100 x 102cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Tree Shadow

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 106.3 x 140cm

Jun Chen

Two Girls

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 100 x 102cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

Under the Trees

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 136x160cm

Jun Chen

Warm Light

2018 \ Oil on canas \ 102 x 100.3cm

SOLD

Jun Chen

White Magnolia Trees

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 136 x 160cm

Jun Chen

White Trees

2018 \ Oil on canvas \ 74.5 x 85cm

Jun Chen

\ Install photo

Jun Chen

\ Install photo 1

Jun Chen

\ Install photo 2

Jun Chen

\ Install photo 3

Jun Chen

\ Install photo 4

\ Other exhibitions

Summer Show

Group Exhibition

5 December — 22 December 2018

James Drinkwater

Looking for Urchins and Louis Ferrari

9 October — 3 November 2018

Sydney Contemporary Stand D05

Giles Alexander, Dianne Gall, Jonathan Dalton & Stuart McLachlan

13 September — 16 September 2018

Contact Us

to find out more about New Spring.

12 - 14 Meagher Street Chippendale, NSW 2008
Opening Hours
9am - 5pm Monday to Friday 11am - 4pm Saturday Christmas dates: Please note the gallery will be closed from 4pm on Saturday 22 December. We reopen at 9am on Wednesday, 9 January 2019.