Mao (Kun) Chen’s works explore themes of socio-cultural identity, female representation. Broadly inspired by both Eastern and Western histories of art Mao’s personal vision of identity and gender transcends the traditional constructed notions, complicating stereotypes, and positions it within a new aesthetic reality. The recent ceramic works seek to explore the hybridization and fluidity of her identity as an immigrant to Canada through explorations of cultural form, symbol, and color. A recent Master of Fine Art graduate from the University of Calgary, Mao also holds a BFA from The University of Alberta and has exhibited her work in the United Kingdom, China and at numerous galleries in Alberta.
Born and raised in China, I am strongly influenced by East Asian culture. Moving to Canada 8 years ago, the differences and similarities between culture and practices was a big shock for me. They created a conflict and contradiction while harmoniously existing within my body. Through examining both Eastern and Western philosophies, traditional values, pop culture, my experiences and emotions, my work seeks to represent a subjective sentiment of my experiences living in both worlds. The vessels depict, in a gesturally abstract style, expressions from my subconscious. It is an ongoing effort to develop a space to make visible my exploration of conflict and harmony within my hybrid identity.
September – October 2021