Laura (Yi Zhen) Chen | Artist Profile Photo
Laura (Yi Zhen) Chen
Cary, North Carolina
Laura begins the painting process by taking multiple photographs, which she then combines and sketches into one composition. She takes a spontaneous approach to color, and often finds that her final paintings are quite different than her original intentions. As such, her color palette is vibrant and at times unexpected. Laura’s artwork is executed with stylized modernism, featuring heavy outlines and dramatic shadows. Much of her subject matter is architectural. “I especially like historical buildings in my area,” says Laura. “I am fascinated by the geometric shapes of the old buildings, their varieties and repetitions, their dramatic color contrast. To me, their simple structures have personality and dignity.” Laura works best when her studio is clean and well organized, and finds inspiration in the “miles of good paintings” hanging in the world’s great museums.
Studio Photo 1 Studio Photo 2 Studio Photo 3

Artist Statement

I like to see and identify shapes of color, describing their interaction with light and how light outlines some of the geometric shapes and reveals the architectural features of the buildings. I use vibrant colors and bold strokes to intensify and simplify the buildings' forms to exaggerate the effect of light. I am always looking for color harmony or contrast to describe interesting shapes of shadows cast by the morning light to capture the mood of the house at certain times of the day. My objective is to make the landscape look more alive and engaging to the viewers by capturing the gesture of trees and describing the mood and personalities of the houses. I often sketch out the composition before I start to paint. These rough sketches often tell me about their abstract quality, which is crucial even for image-based paintings. I rely on my drawing skills and let intuition and spontaneity guide me during the initial process.

Artist Background

Bachelor of Arts
Meredith College
Bachelor of Arts, 1993


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