Ji Chen is one of Australia's finest painters of landscape and seascape. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Shanghai Drama Institute in 1984. He then gained a prestigious appointment as a set designer for the Beijing Opera Company of China.
Ji Chen and his family arrived in Australia in 1989. Here the strong colours and bright light of the Australian landscape provided a new artistic experience. ‘In Australia the weather and therefore the colours in the atmosphere which affect the landscape are so different from those in China ... the natural landscape is the best teacher. I look, and I learn.'
In 2002, 2004 and 2006 Ji Chen was a finalist in the Fleurieu Peninsula Biennale ‘Fleurieu Peninsula Art Prize'. The $50,000 acquisitive prize is the richest prize for landscape painting and a celebration of the Australian landscape by artists from across the country and overseas. Ji Chen's magnificent work ‘Murray River' won the 2004 People's Choice Award and the same award in 2006 with his painting 'Lake Eyre'.
In April 2005 his painting ‘Rough Sea' won the $20,000 Best of Show Gold Medal Award at the Herald Sun Camberwell Art Show in Melbourne.
In the words of the Chief Judge at Camberwell, Michael Berry: ‘This work stood out as exceptional for its masterly use of broad paint laden Zen-like brush strokes describing, forming and punctuating the picture plane's space in single spontaneous sweeps of drawn energy - truly remarkable. The development of perspective is unusual and innovative being fully realised in the rear, middle and forward fields of the picture plane, then pushed further into the forward field (rocks) off the canvas into the space inhabited by the autonomous viewer outside the picture plane. Added to that is the quite unusual exploration of the oblique vanishing diagonals and such multiple focus shifting vanishing point shifts as previously found in master works by Bruegel, Pollock and Matta - few in this country even understand the language let alone are capable of actually painting the space.'
Ji Chen continues to surprise and amaze with his superlative technique, adventurous treatment of subject, and willingness to transcend the trap of contemporary genre.
Ji Chen is a daring and progressive artist, and one to watch.