Born in Taiwan in 1984, Chen Pei-yi began her training in Eastern Gouache (Nihonga) painting in university and graduated from the Department of Visual Arts Education at National Pingtung University in 2007. Upon obtaining her Master of Fine Arts from Tunghai University, Taichung in 2011, Chen became a full-time artist specializing in Eastern Gouache. Her works have received the Art Exhibition Grant from the National Culture and Arts Foundation, Taipei, and have been acquired by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung and the Hirano Museum, Hamamatsu, Japan.
Rain on plantain leaves is a beloved Chinese cultural motif. Volumes of poetry celebrate the imagery, such as Ouyang Xiu’s vivid and slightly melancholy verse “The long courtyard captures the twilight, Spells and spells of rain on plantain leaves.” It is also a favourite in literature, as seen in Ming Dynasty painter Shen Zhou’s short prose “Listening to Plantain,” in which Shen writes “Plantains are still; rain is moving. Movement and stillness come together to become sound. This sound and the ears are compatible.”
Chen Pei-yi, Fresh Greens (detail), 2022 © Chen Pei-yi
Chen Pei-yi’s painting Playing with Lotus is a work built on strict classical training that encompasses both traditional and modern aesthetics. The vase and flowers on the left pays homage to Giuseppe Castiglione’s Gathering of Auspicious Signs of 1723, with variations such as the direction of rice stalks, the features on the vase, and the addition of the cat and textiles.
Chen Pei-yi, Playing with Lotus (detail), 2022 © Chen Pei-yi