Shiau-Peng Chen

Taipei, Taiwan

I record my ideas and feelings in a large number of drawings, using them as filters before selecting the ones I believe most precisely define my intentions. These I transform into the final work, which I consider to be a product of gestalt. The emphasis, therefore, is on the action that integrates my experiences, my psychological state, and my pursuit of a personal aesthetic rather than on composing a pictorial surface or achieving pictorial beauty. The process can be compared to the curving paths of the lines on an electrocardiogram: the painting is complete when the curves reach a particular intensity. I believe that the mysterious qualities that make us human are hidden in this creative state that reaches into the unforeseeable future and contains endless possibilities.

Based on its outward appearance, my painting has most often been classified as geometric abstraction. Geometric abstract artists abandon form to varying degrees, and the revolutionary character of the style is adequately revealed by examining the history of Western art. What most people see when they look at my paintings may be simple geometric and abstract shapes but, in my opinion, any artist who is concerned only with painting shapes has failed. If it were not possible to transcend the idea of shape, then the squares painted by Malevich would look no different from those painted by anyone else. In my own paintings, I hope that by using abstract shapes, I touch on an inner metaphor that can interpret and convey the entire creative act. My paintings are not entirely divorced from a sensual aesthetic, but they certainly have a different purpose.

The act of painting is a psychological need for me. I don’t make paintings in order to illustrate a particular thing, but very often I cannot help but paint or do something related to painting. The elements of my work—geometric forms and pure, evenly applied colors—conform to my character and my habits, and allow me to reflect an inward experience that is constantly changing. Perhaps what attracts me is the continual spiritual pleasure brought about by the stimulation of combining metaphysical ideas with physical labor in the process of creation.

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