A digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary art history

Chan, Irene

Other Names: 陳廷芬

Artist Website

"The Chinese ancients say that poetry 'knocks on silence to make a sound'. In my art, I aspire to stimulate that which is formless (described as 'ch’i' energy) into visible physical form, giving structure to what appears chaotic. Since I must go through an experience, 'the Tao' to understand these concepts, I set up situations and create a process of resolving them. I consider this experience to be my art and the physical object that I create at the end of my journey to be the artifact. This artifact documents my experience and is a physical representation of memories that I share with others.

My work investigates the forces that are the basis of our everyday world. I am interested in patterns and natural phenomena in the cosmic order, like growth and decay: things that are in the movement of evolving from or devolving toward nothingness. Through formal qualities such as fractal similarities and patterns and structures in all living things, I attempt to read nature's language and interpret its meaning. In my sense of materiality, the importance lives in the obscure and neglected details. I emphasize that which is hidden, ephemeral, and subtle and seek to experience and reveal that extraordinary moment of enlightenment and poetry.

This experimentation leads to the invention of new technical and conceptual processes, pushing the boundaries of traditional printmaking, photography, paper, book, and installation arts. In printmaking, ink under pressure makes an impression of image, idea, and memory, like the impressions we make on the landscape when we walk on earth or on concrete--our shared history of markmaking. My work, based on Taoist thought, concerns how we relate to and interact with the environment, both natural and artificial."

Irene Chan, Artist Statement

Gallery of Selected Works