Artist Spotlight: Kai Chen, San Francisco Art Institute

The Bay Area MFA Show is open through June 15! This exhibition showcases work from the five principal MFA programs in the Bay Area. On the blog, we’re highlighting the participating artists. Kai Chen, a recent graduate from SFAI, is our second featured artist.

kai chen 1
Ache, 68×60″ Colored pencil on paper on linen

“In the vastness of color, solitude seems to soften. Repression, trauma, terror, a violent and queered youth left me with an eternal aching scar. Faking a life seems to work like everyone around me. But deep in my heart I know, everyone is queer and longing to escape from the body. Is freedom ever possible? Will there ever be a utopia where we can just shed everything that is put on us and just…Be? Those questions are impossible to answer.

kai chen 2
Midnight, 68×60″ Colored pencil on paper on linen

Perhaps in this work, I return to when I was a child, when I didn’t know anything, but curiosity and excitement about the world, drawing in my room with colored pencils and feeling happy. In that way, I am unfolding the collective trauma and terror that exists underneath the queer body, confronting the homophobic repression and violence from the heteronormative society, and making sublimity out of unspoken queer feelings.”

kai chen 3
Fall, 68×60″ Colored pencil on paper on linen


IG: @kchhen

The Bay Area MFA Show is open through June 15, 2018

Doug Adams Gallery, 2465 LeConte Ave. Berkeley, CA 94709

Gallery hours: Monday – Friday | 10am – 3pm, Saturday | 10am – 1pm