Chinatown’s The ART Gallery hosts an exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Chen Yingjie, also known by his graffiti name, “Hua Tunan.”
Chen’s blend of hyperrealism, Jackson Pollock-like splatters, and graphic spray painting has garnered the young artist high-profile projects with brands like Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Adidas and BMW, as well as major mural commissions around the globe, from Dubai to Honolulu, and previously in Chicago, where he painted a pair of walls in Chinatown and Logan Square in 2015.
Chen’s return to Chicago, an exhibition entitled, “LION DANCE – Cultural Symbol,” features paint and ink imagery of the stylized lion costume of the ancient traditional dance for good luck and fortune. Here, the fearsome eyes of the lion mask emanate from the canvases amidst the wild fur, voluminous ornamentation, and exuberant spills and splatters from the artist’s hand. The lions, as well as depictions of tigers and birds of prey, are evidence of Chen’s predilection for the symbolism in traditional Chinese art, and his intention to represent the power of nature within its often unbalanced relationship with humans.
Oscillating between quick, energetic gestures and slow, painstaking details, Chen creates a visual representation of the Lion Dance –itself a symbolic mingling of humans and animals. In a recent interview with Hypebeast , Chen explains the allure that predators like the lion represents, both artistically and personally: “You can sense… the explosive power of life.”
At the opening reception for “LION DANCE – Cultural Symbol” on April 12 from 5-9pm, the artist will be present and painting a brand new work, live in the gallery. The exhibition is on view at the ART gallery through May 11, 2019.
About The ART Gallery : Located in the heart of Chicago’s Chinatown, The ART Gallery represents emerging Contemporary Asian Artists.