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Hsuan-chi Chen

  • Aftermath1
  • Drifting
  • Aside
  • P1070605a
  • 04heaviness1
  • Lightness1
  • Somewhere_chen
  • Shadow
  • 1_thecouple1
  • 2_thecouple2
  • P1060762


Taipei, Taiwan

Birth year

Lives in
San Francisco, CA

Works in
San Francisco, CA


Representing galleries
Winfield Gallery, Carmel, CA

conceptual, figurative, realism



The experiences we have at some point in the past have already happened and it will happen again in a similar form in the future. The pleasures and pains of life are both forgotten and remembered. Though they are forgotten these events reoccur, creating an unremembered pattern in our lives. This pattern, this cycle of repetition, is inescapable. I struggle with this recurrence; I strive to find the balance within this. Working with the concept of eternal recurrence and combining it with the Buddhist belief in the cycle of life, I depict the effects of the repetition, like the numbness, frustration, anger, and isolation we all experience.

Recently, I have been focusing on the female form to explore theme of eternal recurrence and the resulting emotions. The isolation and uncertainty can create emptiness and a despair that can bring a sense of tragedy to the eternal recurrence that I want to examine by emphasizing the emotional drama one feels.

The author Milan Kundera challenges the idea of eternal recurrence in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and offers another interpretation. Though existence may be one of eternal recurrence, each of us has only one life to live and the events of our individual lives are still unique. The events of our lives will never occur in exactly the same way again nor will others experience the exact experiences of my life. He calls this idea Lightness, and suggests that with this uniqueness comes insignificance. However, this Lightness becomes unbearable, even though it is not an obvious weight, because we want our lives to be significant.

I portray the concepts Lightness (of unique lives) and Heaviness (of universal existence) to deal with the sense of burden. Lightness and Heaviness both are different aspects of existence that fall on the extremes of our existence. I paint extremely light and dark paintings to capture the nature of these elements of the cycle of life. In the paintings dealing with Lightness, the paleness and looseness of these paintings point to the helpless of the trivial sense of our unique moments. In the paintings dealing with Heaviness, I work dark to create suggest the other aspect to the life cycle. Here the overwhelming sense of eternal recurrence can create a sense of monotonous doom resigning one to a fate that one cannot escape. Both suggest inevitability of the burden. One is a burden of insignificance, the other of recurrence, neither of which we can escape but shapes our relationships, families, and lives and is truly worth examining.



Group Exhibitions

- 2010 Self Portraits, Julie Nester Gallery, Park City, UT
- 2010 Diversities of Female Beauty, Sogo, Kaohsiung, Taiwan 
- 2010 The Inner Figure, Gallery 625, Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA

Juried Group Exhibitions

- 2010 WomanMade, Torpedo Factory Art Center - Target Gallery, Alexandria, VA
- 2009 Tiny, Studio Gallery, San Francisco, CA
- 2009 ArtKudos 2009
- 2009 Spring Show, Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA 
- 2009 Salon International 2009, Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, TX
- 2009 Delicious, Studio Gallery, San Francisco, CA
- 2008 Tiny, Studio Gallery, San Francisco, CA
- 2008 Spring Show, Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA


- Finalist - ArtKudos 2009
- Second Place - MFA Figurative Painting 
Academy of Art University Spring Show 2009
San Francisco, CA 2009
- Faculty's Choice- MFA Figurative Painting 
Academy of Art University Spring Show 2009
San Francisco, CA 2009


- MFA, Fine Art / Figurative Painting
Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA
- BFA, Commercial Design 
Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan


Recent Exhibits

Hsuan-chi Chen participated in these exhibits:

Jan, 2010 "The Inner Figure"
625 Sutter Gallery
Nov, 2009 tiny
Studio Gallery
Nov, 2008 "Tiny"
Studio Gallery

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