Jun Chen (b. 1960, Guangzhou, China) emigrated to Australia in 1990 and currently lives and works in Brisbane. One of many students who left China following the Tiananmen Square protests, Chen first moved to Melbourne to study English and then, in 1993, moved to Brisbane and began a Masters of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) at Queensland University of Technology.

When studying for his undergraduate degree at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Chen practiced traditional Chinese brush painting. After moving to Australia, however, he began to work with the oils to become one of Australia’s most prominent impasto painters.

Inspired by the colours and textures of the Australian landscape – both around Brisbane and further afield – Chen’s use of undi¬luted oil paints applied directly to the canvas with a palette knife results in a striking intensity of colour – to capture magnolias in white and pink, purple jacarandas and red poinciana trees. His softer treatment of water lilies floating on a darkening pond or the messy scrub of the Australian bush are also presented here in this, Chen’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.

“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.” – Jun Chen

He has been a finalist in the Archibald nine times (he was highly commended in 2017 for his portrait of the late gallerist Ray Hughes), and a five-time finalist in both the Wynne and Sulman prizes at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Chen’s work can be found in numerous public collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Parliament House, Canberra; and the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, which commissioned him to paint Chinese-Australian former ballet dancer Li Cunxin AO, now artistic director of the Queensland Ballet.

Chen’s work is also held in the collections of Shen Zhen Guan Shan-yue Art Museum, Shenzhen, China; Guangzhou Art Gallery, China; Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, China; Art College of Sweden and in private collections in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia.