|All in One. (c) Li Chen, 1998.|
I admire the husky bulk of his forms, combined with a smooth graceful texture. It summons the feeling of strength and gentility in one. There is a sense of wisdom and compassion in the faces, mixed with a sense of whimsy. Li Chen perfectly communicates the contemplative demeanor.
His website gives some more information:
"Artist, Li Chen was born in central Taiwan... Li Chen takes 'Emptiness'’ as the important concept in his creative aesthetics. 'Emptiness' and “Void” are important ideologies of Buddhism and Taoism in Chinese culture. 'Emptiness' in Buddhism does not mean 'Nothing', but a huge and quiet wisdom state of birth and death... the sculptures convey sweet, romantic, happy and satisfied spiritual concepts. Just because of this, even though some of his works are very huge, they don’t appear oppressive and heavy... Furthermore, Li Chen even can make breakthrough on the existing style of Buddhist sculptures over thousands of years. He changes the thick and full Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618–907) style Buddhist sculptures and the pretty and elegant spiritual and image characteristics of Song Dynasty (A.D. 960-1279) and makes the faces and lines of his sculptures extremely simple. He extracts the elements of China’s five thousand years of history and culture... He successfully combines classical and contemporary perspectives and makes his works have unprecedented unique models and shapes and endows new life to the oriental sculptures."
This mix of strength and kindness, wisdom and play, traditional and contemporary exhibits many of the qualities I aim for in the Humanist Contemplative concept. Meaning, I try to mine the best of Human cultural and philosophical history with a modern naturalistic view.
Li Chen has shown all over the world, and it seems his work was shown here in Houston at the International Fine Art Fair in 2002. I hope I'll have the chance to see it sometime in the future. I recommend checking out his website at www.lichensculpture.org to see more of his work.