I am an interdisciplinary contemporary artist. My work is abstract and often biographical of my immigration journey through Germany, U.S of A and Canada. My background is ethnic Han; my father was a child soldier in the Ten Year Revolution and the Great Leap Forward in China, my mother was a child labourer in a cotton spinning factory, and my grandparents were teachers, farmers, carpenter, and educators, My work was born of uprising and conflict in the 90’s, and delves into interconnectedness of individuals through late-capitalist-communist history, art, technology, literature, politics and labour. Effects of global warming, racial injustice, social and financial divide, colonialism, slave labour, gender equality and the role of AI technology ripple through time, and generational differences in neurodiverse youth create new cultures.
Shen is a feminist scholar, sculptor, writer, and art critique. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Canadian Council of Arts Research and Creation Fund, the Nick Tadashi Graduate Scholarship, and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Scholarship. Her works have been shown in China, Japan, U.S, and Canada. She was a tree planter in rural Canada for three years and obtained her MFA from Concordia University.
Chaos theory is my method of generating images. Through repetitive movement and generous iteration of simple rules my art creates itself overtime. Emergence and complexity is the theory of natural growth, my work often look like asymmetrical fractals, which is the visual representation of organic sedimentation of material. While I was treeplanting out west, they call is a piece of land that has been specially dug and arranged to plant new trees, a "block". It consists of overturned stumps (ideal for moisture and shade), fallen logs, moss, sand, rocks, clay, soil, ice, snow and many different kinds of bio-matter. Canada's delicate ecosystem contains many kinds of micro-organisms and bacteria that has taken up different evolutionary path to accommodate Canada's harsh winter climate and brief summers. Active combination of visual, sound, and muscle memory are present in all my works. I feel that we were made to focus on our feet as we walk as our ancestors did, to use our arms for balance, to navigate and master different types of ground, and listen for the calls of animals. It is an extra spacial dimension of thinking that we no longer use and have mostly forgotten. We made a switch to complex multi-layer abstract thoughts involving numbers. I now have a new appreciation of nature walks. These drawings are made with the thought of “drawing with my feet on the ground” in mind, like Richard Longfellow’s landscape interventions, they serve as a reminder to me that nature does not care if its solutions are complicated, but will always prevail in the end with adaptation.
I often hear gun shots ring from nearby fields. When I get to that piece I find empty shotgun shells