At the core of Shulin Sun’s art, there exists an intimacy enriched by ancient Chinese philosophy. It informs his practice, overlapping the thought process and rendering of his paintings. It expresses life as a cycle made up of two extremes that coexist in nature.
Born in Beijing, China in 1952, Shulin’s interest in art sparked while watching his father practice calligraphy. However, the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s delayed his artistic development.
Sent away from his family to the Heilongjiang Province in North-Eastern China he worked in extreme conditions. For the next eight years, Shulin developed a strong will and determination for life. His experience in the forests and bitter cold reflect in his art.
After his return, Shulin studied under the acclaimed Chinese artist, Li Keran. While Shulin’s early art style rendered traditional Chinese paintings, he tested new techniques experimenting with Western influences.
From 1987 to 1996, Shulin participated in solo and group exhibitions in Germany, Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States. His Chinese landscapes also won many awards including the "96 International Fine Arts Competition", in South Korea. Later that year his solo exhibition in Houston, Texas, initiated his relocation to the US.
Shulin’s life and art entered a new era. He experimented with his technique and style, combining the philosophies of Impressionism with traditional Chinese painting methods. “I focus less on form and more on feeling as I work,” he says of his authentic style of abstract art.
After 30 years of experimenting, he launched a new style of painting in 2013. Recent solo exhibitions at Q Street Fine Art in Washington, DC, and Evanston Art Center, Evanston, Illinois, in 2017 demonstrate meticulous brushwork layered with a mystical synergy.
Shulin Sun now lives and works in Michigan, US.
Nature inspires my paintings. I use my art to record a dualistic story. It journals my thoughts on the subject, and how it relates to my life. Ancient Chinese art philosophies underpin the thought process and execution of my art. I reflect on the subject of my painting to find its ch’i [氣], the breath of energy that flows through it. I seek to transfer its spirit into my art. I want to give it a new life as I paint, while also balancing it with my subjective self, the feelings that arise as I think about my experiences and nature.
My abstract art blends acrylic Chinese painting colors with spilled ink on paper. I observe the form it takes. Using Chinese calligraphy brushes, I exaggerate the shapes, colors and free-flowing lines of the spilled ink and paint. I often use a dry brush and allow the art to partially dry before adding another layer and repeating the process.
Influenced by the goals and aesthetics of Impressionism, detailed brushwork augments the balance of light and shade. I also employ white space and fragmentation to deepen the mystery and encourage the imagination.
2017 - Shulin Sun: Ice 6, Traditional to Modern, The Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, NJ, September 15 - November 5, 2017.
2017 - Shulin Sun: Leaves 11, Biennial Juried Exhibition, Five Points Gallery, Torrington CT, August 3 - September 2, 2017.
2017 - Shulin Sun: Ice 7, Contemporary Abstraction, Core New Art Space, Denver CO, July 13 - 30, 2017.
2017 - Solo exhibition at Evanston Art Center, Evanston IL, May 3 - May 29, 2017.
2016 - Solo exhibition at Q Street Fine Art, Washington, DC, September 2 - October 3, 2016.
2016 - Shulin Sun: Ice 2, A Touch of the Blues, ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL, February 3 - 27, 2016.
2016 - Shulin Sun: Leaves 24, The Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, NJ, January 16 - March 13, 2016.
2015 - Shulin Sun: Selected Works, Gallery 117, Ann Arbor, MI, December 4, 2015 - January 4, 2016.
2015 - Shulin Sun: Winter 2, 2015 Biennial Exhibition, New Hampshire Institute of Art, Manchester, NH, December 3, 2015 - January 11, 2016.
2015 - Shulin Sun: Leaves 8, Elements of Abstraction Exhibition, St. Louis Artists' Guild, St. Louis, MO, November 20, 2015 - January 2, 2016.
2015 - Shulin Sun: Winter 19, Detroit Artists Market, Detroit, MI, November 6 - December 27, 2015.
2012-2013 - Shulin Sun: Works 2010-2011, Galleries Maurice Sternberg, Chicago, IL.
2007 - Shulin Sun: Du Fu Thatched Cottage, "Zhong Hua Qing" Chinese Fine Art and Calligraphy Exhibition, October 2007.
2004-2006 - Director of evaluation committee in the US Asian Youth Art Competition.
2002 - Organized the Michigan Asian Youth Art Competition and became director of evaluation committee.
1996 - Solo exhibition, International Decor Gallery, Houston, Texas, October 1996.
1996 - Shulin Sun: The Spring of Jiangnan, First prize winner in "96 International Fine Arts Competition", South Korea, June 1996 .
1995 - Shulin Sun: Spring Breeze on the Shore of Jiangnan, Fine Art Association of Taiwan, Taiwan, October 1995.
1995 - Shulin Sun: The Boat Dwellers, Collected by Japanese private art museum, October 1995.
1995 - Shulin Sun: The Iron Landscape, Third prize winner of "Junlong 95" Chinese caligraphy and painting competition, December 1995.
1994 - Participated in " Wan Li Jiang Shan Qing" Chinese calligraphy and painting exhibition, Ban Li Art Gallery, Singapore.
1994 - Shulin Sun: The Spirits of the Three Gorges, First prize winner In "Yao Hua Bei" calligraphy and painting competition co-conducted by Chinese Artists Association, Chinese Calligraphers Association and Chinese Three Gorges Publishing House, January 1994.
1993 - Participated in " The Chinese Outstanding Authors Art Works Show " Sapporo, Japan, May 1993.
1987 - Solo exhibition in University of Tübingen, West Germany, October 5-November 6, 1987.