The Tiroche DeLeon Collection recently acquired two magnificent pieces by the promising young artist and curator Ruijun Shen and we are pleased to dedicate this next spotlight to her.
Born and raised in Guangzhou, China Ruijun Shen completed her BA in painting at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2000. After receiving two MFA degrees from Montclair State University in New Jersey in 2004 and the Art institute of Chicago in 2007, Shen was granted multiple prestigious grants and fellowships such as the Joan Mitchel award and the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship. Since then, Shen has achieved immense success both in her artistic practice and her curatorial work. Her works have been included in the 8th International Ink Art Biennale of Shenzhen, Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, as well as exhibited in the US, Italy, China, Russia and South Korea.
With a rich body of work including paintings, drawings, animations and installations, Ruijun Shen has established her artistic aspiration to fuse traditional Chinese painting techniques and styles with figurative references to Western culture. By creating a common space for these seemingly clashing components to interact and influence each other, Shen achieves a duality that deeply informs her work both conceptually and visually. Highly influenced by Taoism, a religious and philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony, Shen strives to foreground a sense of connectivity in her work between oppositions, purposefully reflecting the notion of yin and yang.
The artist's unique compositions are formed as a result of her unconventional creative process. She begins with photographing organic objects such a tree or an insect and proceeds to reproduce the image in a sketch multiple times, continuously changing their forms. Next, using a photocopying machine, Shen combines her sketches to create hybrid creatures, often a combination of the human body, animals and plants. Her paintings often have numerous layers which reflect this porcess. The distorted transformations produce mesmerizing imaginative creatures that invoke a dissonance between the familiar and the unfamiliar, successfully blurring the boundary between illusion and reality.
Recently acquired by the Tiroche DeLeon Collection, Ruijun Shen's ink on silk painting titled "Statue #1" (left), displays a seemingly aquatic scene of indecipherable creatures and vegetation intermingled in one another. Shen's skillful execution creates a sense of movement and growth in this dramatic atmosphere.
Another exceptional addition to the collection is "Market" (right). This vibrantly colorful work further exemplifies Shen's background in traditional Chinese painting techniques, specifically her combination of transparent and opaque tones which create depth. Shen's mutating figures appear in a state of flux and draw the spectator into a realm of fantasy, creating a discerning and yet familiar experience.
Ruijun Shen is represented by Gallery Yang in China and her works can be found in the collections of the Guangdong Museum of Art, China; Kardist Art Foundation, SF; The National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome; and the White Rabbit Collection, Austria.
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