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Art JiaChen

Jia Chen's Pilgrimage to a Never-Land of Arts

高標異韻 探索未知


Jia Chen is an established New York based painter, sculptor, poet, song-writer and social historian. Acknowledged as not only Founder of Unconstrained Freehand Cursive Script and American Poetic Expressionism, but also a remarkable art and literary critic and song-writer, she has since the early 1990s played an active role in various significant NYC cultural events for over two and a half decades.

In addition to her voluminous paintings and sculpture developed from her revolutionary Unconstrained Freehand Cursive Script, she is equally known for her epoch-making musical project with Neil Wolff in 1997 on Hong Kong's Return to China, titled "Oh China--My Mother", and staged at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, as well as a large number of memorable Western-styled love ballads and traditional Ci musical pieces.

Jia Chen's imposing artwork, including her huge calligraphic murals, paintings and sculptures, and even her sentimental poetry and music, are miraculously permeated with a strong sense of philosophical speculation, uninhibited imaginations,  and a free-floating spirit. They are loyal portrayals of her decades of arduous journeys in The US, especially in NYC, in either a physical, emotional or psychological fashion.

Her unusual journey to a Never-Land of Arts all started as a young girl. Born with a strong sense of humor and wild imagination, she became an outstanding existentialist poet and writer of social satires while a graduate student at Peking University in Beijing, China.

In New York City, at the Graduate Faculty of New School for Social Research and Columbia University, she was recognized by renowned scholars like Arthur J. Vidich, Judy Shapiro, C. T. Hsia and Jose Casanova as “a natural sociologist”, “a great writer in her own right” and “with a unique writing style full of madness”. Her first novellas written in The US included “Come with Wind” and “New York as It Is”.

In the early 1990s, as a challenge to China's centuries-old history of calligraphy, Jia Chen founded a revolutionary calligraphic style named Unconstrained Freehand Cursive Script. In 1994-5, she published her theoretical manifesto, “Unconstrained Freehand Cursive Script: A Revolution in Chinese Calligraphic Art”, in both Chinese and English versions, in leading Chinese publications and The International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society (Volume 8, No. 3, 1995).

Based upon Lao Tzu's philosophic ideas of spontaneity, Jia considers calligraphic creation a particular yet convenient form of art enabling her to express personal visions rather than repeating the established practices of a few ancient masters' styles. Her magnificent murals of Unconstrained Freehand Cursive Script, although possessing a wide array of colorful expressions, are spontaneously accomplished, free from any painstakingness and foreordained result. Confirming eloquently a famous remark on the theory of art by the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus that "A man could never step twice into the same river," they are an authentic portrayal of her uninhibited imagination and storm-tossed inner vitality, each reflecting the river that passed when she created. Borrowing the superior elements of related forms of art and literature, the Script, in terms of its line appeal, integrated composition and artistic power, thoroughly eliminates such common technical weaknesses as stiffness, affectedness, and over-elaborateness, frequently found in the work of her calligraphic predecessors. 

In May, 1994, she held a sensational joint-show on the Script with Kwong Lum, a New York painting master and art connoisseur, at The National Museum of Chinese History in Beijing. According to Dongfang Hu, a world-famous Chinese-British art critic, the Script “has revolutionized the art form of traditional Chinese calligraphy, posing a bold challenge to conventional criticism and creation. Each piece, as profoundly grounded in Taoist ideas of Lao Tzu, is novel in both its concept and skill requirements.”

In early 2000, Jia Chen and Lum held another joint-exhibition on the Script, followed by their one-man and one-woman art shows on Poeti/Lyric American Expressionist paintings. Prestigious New York critics such as Robert C. Morgan and Arthur J. Vidich reviewed Jia Chen’s art work as “intriguing in integrating calligraphy into the Western painting art,” and  ”the most avant-garde in terms of its wild imaginations and evolutionary skills.” Mogan even believed that Jia's graceful line movements were "so much more appealling than Pablo Picasso's Flamenco Dancing."

Since her art shows in the year of 2000, Jia has produced a tremendous amount of art work, inc

luding painting series such as “Dreamers Like Us”, “Metamorphosis”, “In Pursuit of Happiness”, "The Awakening", and “My Guiding Stars”, as well as a series of sculpture in commemoration of the national tragedy of September 11, 2001, entitled “God Bless America”, a musical series of 15 love songs entitled “Beloved Celestial Dreams”, and so forth.

In view of Jia's recent paintings, Dr. Robert C. Morgan writes:

Dear Jia Chen:
Somehow your interior response through the brush to external events is more convincing than other work I have seen. I like what you do.  I like your parallel relationship to music as well. This makes sense -- the rhythm, variations and subtle intensity all come together nicely.

Rod Shepard , a noted musician, composer and producer,  also gives his wonderful comments on Jia's love ballads entitled Beloved Celestrial Dreams as follows:

These are beauteful songs for a children's book. They are full of colors, hopes and imaginatioms, each resounding like an operetta.

For Jia Chen all art forms are only channels to let out her own inner forces or immpressions of an entirely spiritual wanderland. Although with unprecedented achievements beyond other people's reach, she has so far remained in a Never-Land of Arts as a curious child, anxious to  search more, and more. 

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