Angel Chen


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Learning consists in daily accumulating;
The practice of Tao consists in daily diminishing. 

~Lao Tzu, “Tao Teh Ching” 

"Balancing Eastern and Western influences, I call this work Femme Brut, delicate and forceful, uniting integrated duality, hard and soft, material and ephemeral, timeless and now, raw and refined. From the elegant arrangement of Ikebana and harmonizing environment of Feng Shui, placement and order carry meaning beyond the intrinsic value of the object itself. The works, pairings, and clusters suggest relationships of belonging. These earthworks are the resulting traces and memories caused by primal stacking, clawing, joining, carving. Scholar stones, totem spirits and sacred objects, modernizing an ancient practice of hands in earth, inhabiting an unpretentious beauty, purity, dignity, and humility, contemplative art forms honoring nature within culture. 

Energy is neither created nor destroyed, only changed from one form to another, sculptures are made by adding or subtracting from raw material mass. In making one sculpture, the scooped out remains, byproduct, detritus, become the castaway material to form another sculpture whose entity is created by the other's negative. One physical form consciously revealed through subtractive process, another ancillary object accumulated in an additive process, both cultural markers in a symbiotic relationship. Positive and negative generate two pieces from one intention, one a byproduct of the other, recording layers of time through a trail of earthen organic material, boyscout cairn marking the way home, hidden language amongst secret travelers. They are handmade remnants still imbued with life force and mystical qualities, like stacked oyster shells from an ancient dynasty. 

Connection to the earth, moving to the geodesic dome in Joshua Tree, nurturing a transformative garden, living the rural homesteading life, all synergize together to form this new work. An outdoor-centered lifestyle prompted evolution from painting to sculpture and transition from working in an indoor studio to working outdoors. Gardening, hands in the earth, led to a natural progression to working with clay. Distance from the city center allows space to breathe unique qualities into the work without influence of subtle homogeneity. 

 Extreme focus on a narrow color spectrum, a restrained limited palette between dark and light, with translucent silvery grey, streaked with hints of vibrant hues dramatizes the work in its absence of color. An ethereal palette brings heightened sensitivity to faint tonal traces and subtle hues. Where the invisible is made visible, and the obvious fades away, secret destinies are contained in hidden messages. Made by hand, direct from the unconscious, clay is the medium to manifest the mind. The waves represent natural movements and cycles, powerful arcs, pulses and currents within gravity defying shapes. Underwater sea creatures and waves act as symbols connecting an ancient prophecy to the desert, this landscape which once was underwater 800 million years ago."