LA///OPENINGS///FIRST LOOK: YI CHEN’S GORGEOUS “BEAUT-ESQUE” AT HONOR FRASER GALLERY

April 13, 2009  |  art, First Look, LA, News, Openings

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Beijing-born and Queens, NY-based Chinese artist YI CHEN is a rising force in the world of modern figurative painting. His newest show "Beaut-Esque" that opened its doors at Culver City hotspot HONOR FRASER GALLERY this Saturday nite was full of gorgeous, color-dense examples of his playful and expert signature style full of playful references the modern masters (Picasso and Hockney spring immediately to mind), and loads of painting chops to spare. The artist uses culturally mediated images from advertisements and fashion magazines as inspiration for his work and sees his paintings and collages as metaphors for hybrid, mutated concepts of beauty borne from a global popular culture. This concept of hybridization and mutation formulate a tense balance in his work, combining enticing beauty and repelling grotesqueries that result in magnetic paintings. Chen begins his creative process by assembling collages of human (and sometimes mammalian) facial features cut out from popular fashion magazines. These collages of perfect/imperfect specimens are the foundation of his work. Like an artistic scientist, he disregards race, gender and age and selects individual characteristics and reconstructs them to form a new human species. These collages then become the figurative models for his lushly rendered oil paintings. All art-crawling denizens of the Southland should consider this essential viewing. HAVE A LOOK:

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