About the artist
Jun Chen (b. 1960, Guangzhou, China) emigrated to Australia in 1990 and currently lives and works in Brisbane. Chen has become one of Australia’s most prominent impasto painters – working in both landscape and portraiture, his luscious oil renderings are admired for their exquisite execution and allure.
Growing up during China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-76), Chen trained in Chinese brush painting at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts from 1982-86. This skills-based training, using big brushes and restrained ink marks, provided Chen a strong technical base for his work.
Following 1989 and the Tiananmen Square protests, Chen was one of many students who left China, finding himself first in Melbourne studying English. In 1993, he moved to Brisbane and began a Masters of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) at Queensland University of Technology. During this time, he began to work with the oils for which he is now known.
Chen’s impasto oil paintings are textural observations of the landscape, nudes and still lifes with the paint thickly applied using a palette knife. He states “I don’t mix the oils. I paint wet to wet, and use control to cover the depth of things. I want to imbue the freshness with feeling. I like colour very strong, and do my painting in my own way. I love the black and grey. People like the feeling inside, same as for artists, to see the feelings. This is very important.”
Chen has been a regular finalist in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and in 2013 won the Tattersall’s Club Landscape Art Prize in Brisbane. In 2018, the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra commissioned Chen to paint a portrait of the Chinese-Australian former ballet dancer and current artistic director of the Queensland Ballet, Li Cunxin. Chen is represented in major Australian public collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. Chen also has his work held in public collections in China and Sweden, and in private collections throughout Australia and Asia.