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Arts & Entertainment

Urban Beauty

Painter Hsuan-Ying Chen (CFA’07) paints gritty urban landscapes.

Untitled, oil on canvas, 24” x 20”. Image courtesy of Hsuan-Ying Chen (CFA’07)

Having always lived in densely populated cities such as Taipei, Shanghai, and Boston, painting major Hsuan-Ying Chen (CFA’07) is instinctively attracted to the repetitive designs of window grids, rooftops, and other parallels found in urban environments. “The inaccuracies, fluidity, and subtleties in these patterns make fascinating subjects for cityscape painting,” she says.

By using photographs and on-site sketches as references, Chen depicts the gritty living conditions of crowded dwellings in her urban landscapes. “Compact habitation and modern materialism are the obvious themes of my work,” she says.

Chen’s interest in material things also influences her still-life paintings, which include vibrant representations of red cookie tins, juice boxes, and other “cheap plastic materials” featuring “cheesy, joyous” Chinese characters. “My paintings are not meant to criticize,” she says. “Rather, they are celebrations.”   

Chen’s artwork was selected by the BU Art League, a student-run group based in the CFA school of visual arts. The organization helps undergraduate student artists learn more about the art world than they might normally learn in the classroom. The Art League tries to build a strong community through monthly meetings, exhibition opportunities, and a monthly newsletter. For more information, contact Patrick Short (CFA’08) at shortp@bu.edu.

Vicky Waltz can be reached at vwaltz@bu.edu.