Swift strokes of diluted oil paint accumulate in the works of Hong Kong artist Chris Huen Sin Kan, distilling quotidian moments and experiences into poetic visions.Read More
Huen's spontaneous painting style was developed in his final years at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he graduated in 2013. There, he returned to his interest in anime, which the artist describes in an Ocula Conversation with Stephanie Bailey as acting as one of the basic principles in his practice 'with regards to how lines, dots, and surfaces are read in a picture.' These strokes are applied directly to the canvas so that the image is built with immediacy, lending his works their idiosyncratic atmosphere.
Huen's compositions are informed by both Western and Chinese painting systems while cancelling them both out to create his own unique style. His first solo exhibition, A Life in the Temporary, was with Hong Kong's Gallery EXIT in 2014. In this exhibition, viewers were introduced to the characters that have populated the artist's paintings throughout the years, including his wife Haze and his dogs, Mui Mui and Doodood. Huen's world is cast from his studio and rooms in his home, their painterly renditions offering intimate glimpses of his daily life. The plant-filled studio of Doodood, Mui Mui and Haze (2014), for instance, frames the two dogs ragging as Haze appears occupied at a table to the right of the picture plane.
Huen's are full and detailed paintings that range from being hazy and lightly toned to comprising darker and brighter colours. In his 2020 online exhibition Puzzled Daydreams with Simon Lee Gallery, Huen's compositions are vibrantly chaotic yet still manage to form cohesive and organised scenes. This artful navigation of detail aligns with Huen's interest in the 'specious present'—a theory first put forward by E.R. Clay that describes the present as being a cumulative experience of many moments. In depicting the specious present, Huen explains that he considers his works as depicting a present 'that is paused at a reference point and replayed whenever it is being observed.'
Huen lives and works in Hong Kong, and his works are held in private collections across the globe, including Singapore, the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, and Hong Kong. He has held a number of solo exhibitions worldwide, including Out of the Ordinary and Tall Trees – and the things I might have forgotten at Gallery EXIT in Hong Kong (2015 and 2019); Things Happen Naturally at Nanhai Gallery in Taipei (2015); Re-Fresh: Chris Huen Sin Kan and Of Humdrum Moments at Pilar Corrias in London (2016 and 2017); and The Illuminated Mundane at Ota Fine Arts in Tokyo (2019).
Biography by Tessa Moldan | Ocula | 2020
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