Hon Eui Chen

'In a field, I am the absence'

For her first solo museum exhibition, New York-based artist Hon Eui Chen (SCAD B.F.A., painting, 2004) explores ideas of home and the reverie of time in embroidered paintings, gouache drawings, and a large-scale installation of abstract landscapes. Born in a refugee camp on the Thailand-Cambodia border and raised in Mississippi, Chen uses her work to process the struggle to recall fleeting memories of her youth and feelings of displacement. Consequently, her artistic practice serves as an exercise in recovering forgotten moments, expressing her identity, and articulating her longing for home and community.

Signature image for Hon Eui Chen exhibition
Hon Eui Chen, "In a field, I am the absence," 2023, silk and wool on linen, 24 x 20 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Across this new body of work, Chen relies on photographs and her own memories to render scenes of real and imagined places that seem equally familiar and indeterminate. In her embroidered works, soft-toned threads are sewn into expansive, undulating fields — often with isolated or abandoned houses in the distance — that blend into the muted colors of the linen canvas. The faintness of the compositions and their large swaths of empty space evoke clouded memories, hazy dreams, or times from long ago. With each stitch and brushstroke, Chen gives shape to a subject as formless, impermanent, and transitory as memory, while simulating a place for recollection and dreaming.

About the artist

Hon Eui Chen (b. 1981, Khao-I-Dang, Thailand) received her B.F.A. in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2004 and her M.F.A. in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010. Her work has been shown at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, New York; and Dean Project, New York, among other venues. She has participated in residencies at the Bronx Museum, Jamaica Center, Vermont Studio Center, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, and Yaddo. She lives and works in Queens, New York.

Credits

In a field, I am the absence is organized by SCAD Museum of Art assistant curator Haley Clouser.

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