Hi everyone! Hope you’ve had a good week! I’ve been finding so many new artists lately – social media is definitely an amazing way to expose you to new kinds of art, and I am so grateful for that. This week, I want to share another one of the artists I recently found – Vivian Chien.
Chien is an artist and designer from Toronto. She specializes in landscape paintings, primarily using gouache and acrylic. What sets her paintings apart is the color palette she uses. Chien accomplishes her landscapes using soft, pastel colors that create a dreamlike atmosphere.
Chien’s bright, mystical colors allow viewers to feel the wonder of the places she has painted. The simple shapes and lines she uses keeps our eyes scanning deep into the piece. In the first two, which both show city streets, you can feel yourself looking down the road, wondering what might be around the corner. The last piece, which is the Toronto skyline, feels like a utopia – a city of peace, love, and enchantment.
Chien’s style reminds me of paintings from Ming China. Ming Dynasty artists used ink on paper to create landscapes. These paintings were considered an extension of calligraphy, and so they utilized mark making. The landscapes featured in Ming art were not real places, but idealized places that the artists would create. This allowed artists to express themselves and explore their inner self.
This is one of Chien’s pieces compared to a Ming Dynasty piece, Landscape in the Manner of Old Masters by Dong Qichang. Although Chien’s use of color drives the wonder of the landscape, both Chien and Qichang utilize simple mark making. Chien lays flat, basic shapes, allowing the different intensity of colors to create depth and dimension. Qichang relies on the concentration of the ink and the pressure of his brush to accomplish this. While the rocky landscape seems very detailed and shaded, he also leaves much of his painting very simple. This is apparent in the tree at the bottom left and the small house that sits left of the center. Both artists also leave much of their paintings up to imagination. Chien’s landscape is filled with small squares and rectangles, which could either be houses or just areas of land. Qichang leaves blank spaces for us to fill in the rest. Although Chien’s painting is most likely based on a real place, both artists have successfully created an idealized, perfect place.
I always find it so interesting that we can find connections between contemporary art and art from centuries before. I think this shows that, despite centuries of change and advancement, art at its core has remained the same. Art will forever be something that brings joy to us, whether it is art we create or art we view and admire.
Be sure to check out Vivien Chien on Instagram ( @ vchienart ) to see some more of her amazing work!