Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mona Oates & Wen-Hua Chen Exhibit

The Shoe Factory Art Co-op’s May exhibit will feature the work of surrealist painter Mona Oates and floral painter Wen-Hua Chen.  A First Friday gallery opening will include an unveiling by Oates of her three most recent oil paintings in a series called “Fleeting Stages”.  The evening’s reception will also serve as a farewell art show for Chen as she will be returning to her homeland in Taiwan, providing a last chance for the public to view and purchase her artwork in Rochester.

The paintings of Rochester artist Mona Oates evoke imagery to the viewer that is both imaginative and thought provoking.  The mysterious organisms and strange architectural forms are depicted in otherworldly environments of her own creation.  Oates, 26, was born in Germany where she was active in music and arts as a child.  She pursued an art education after high school in Singapore through a United World College scholarship.  From there she continued her art studies while traveling to a number of Asian countries, and enduring some harsh winters in the Northern European country of Estonia.  She attended the University of Chester in England, graduating with a bachelor of fine arts degree and winning the University’s Fine Art Prize.  During this time she started to develop her artistic style of rendering surreal and abstract organic forms with refined old masters painting techniques.  In England she met her husband Joseph Oates, a Rochester native, and moved here with him in 2010. Since then she has been actively painting and involving herself in the Rochester art scene.  She is currently employed at Rochester Art Supply and is a member and House Artist at The Shoe Factory Art Co-op.
Wen-Hua Chen painting at The Shoe Factory. photo by Russ Lunn
Flowers are the favorite subject and focus of painter Wen-Hua Chen.  Her talent lies in realistic interpretations of varying species of blooms using watercolors or oils.  Also impressive are her painstakingly detailed studies of traditional Taiwanese graphic floral patterns.  Chen, 25, was born in Taiwan.  Although she was interested in art in high school, she got a BA in Philosophy at National Taiwan University in Taipei.  Having taken a number of art classes her senior year of college, she realized she wanted to pursue a masters degree in art.  Her parents encouraged her to apply for graduate school in the United States.  She attended Rochester Institute of Technology’s Fine Arts Studio MFA program and graduated in spring 2012. Her thesis exhibit at RIT not only featured her flower paintings but also a baby grand piano, its entire surface hand painted with a bold and graphic floral design.  On this objet d'art, her prized possession, she has resumed her classical piano training from childhood.  Since graduating, she set up a studio space along with her piano in the Shoe Factory Art Co-op’s gallery.  She had hoped to stay in the US but was not able to find employment in her desired field.  She will return to Taiwan at the end of May before her Visa papers expire.
Both artists will have their paintings on display along with a variety of artwork by other Shoe Factory House Artists on First Friday, May 3rd from 6-9pm and Second Saturday, May 11th from 12-4pm.  Oates will give a talk about her artistic inspiration and techniques with Q & A at 2pm on Second Saturday.  Additional gallery hours are on Wednesdays from 12-5pm.  Open to the public.  Artwork is available for purchase.  Free admission.

Location:  The Shoe Factory Art Co-op, 250 N. Goodman St., Studio 212 (second floor), Rochester, NY 14607. 
Contact:  Director, Beth Brown
Phone: (585)732-0036

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