Gwen Yen Chiu is a Chicago-based, Taiwanese-American artist whose work explores the ephemeral nature of human history, social practices, and emotion through abstraction. Her process features fabricated and cast metal at its core. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design for fashion design and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago for Sculpture, receiving her BFA from SAIC in 2018.
“My work has always been influenced by my interest in flight. This interest developed early on, which resulted in extensive studies on Otto Lilienthal and Leonardo DaVinci’s flying machines. These machines were bodily prosthetics that were strapped to the wearer to act as bird wings, relying fully on the body without the use of external fuel sources. Even though these highly engineered devices were unsuccessful in defying physics to propel the wearer into the air, to me they were still beautiful artistic creations that psychologically resolved the primeval human desire to fly. Recent events in the world, specifically in the United States, have further reinforced this interest, however revealing themselves as no longer a naive desire, but as a desperate longing to go and fly away somewhere, not here. Through combining my skills of metal working with my upbringing and training in Chinese calligraphy and painting, my work has been an ode to these recent feelings and events, manifesting as objects of dynamic movement and gestures striving to represent uplifting and fantastical feelings whilst encompassing the fragility and impermanence of the human condition.”