November 12 - December 10, 2021
Gallery 456
Exhibition Statement

Gallery 456 is pleased to present Chenlin Cai’s second New York solo exhibition Body•Mark featuring his recent works made between 2017 and 2021.

The artist combines medical images with artistic expression language to create a unique painting style. In his works, oil paint is diluted by mixing multiple media to become transparent and have ink-like fluidity. The brushwork of oriental ink and wash collides with the formal language of Western oil painting, and the surface texture of the work presents a cell structure similar to that seen under a microscope. This organic texture and visual language are a prominent personal label in his works.

The sudden pandemic has changed the way of life of people all over the world, and the trauma caused by the virus has left indelible scars or marks both physically and psychologically. How to treat the objective reality that diseases will coexist with humans for a long time is changing society's attitude towards diseases and patients. The awe and curiosity of life inspired mankind to explore the true meaning of life. Who am I, where am I from, and where will I go?

The artist painted the microstructure of cells and viruses on the surface of macroscopic objects such as human bodies and landscapes. The human cell tissue under the microscope shows a strange structure and texture. Observing the cell structure under this microscopic perspective brings a surreal experience. After the life structure from the micro perspective is enlarged, it presents a fragile beauty and a strange sense of fear. The spreading cellular structure gathers and reorganizes in the human body, just like the reprogramming of life again and again.

The human body reprogramed by cells, the landscape made by human bones under X-rays, and the transparent multi-layer paintings extended in the space. Chenlin Cai attempts to expand the visual expression and sense of form in his works, in order to provide a new way of viewing to art.


I create paintings with visual narratives about relationships between humans and our environment, historical moments and contemporary events. I borrowed some thought-provoking historical moments from the album of time, extracted the images out from the original context, and placed them in the current time and space, thereby creating a visual contradiction and conflict. I visually express the effects of catastrophic events on the human body in a beautiful and poetic way.

My works fuse oil painting medium with traditional Chinese ink-painting expression. My unorthodox use of oil paint on nontraditional surfaces allows me to create artificial cellular structures that divide the images into a mosaic texture. I created a unique texture to mimic the biological cellular structure from an under-the-microscopic perspective. In these paintings, the organic microscopic structures and the macroscopic natural landscape combine in mystifying presentation of the dislocation and overlap of transparent materials.

The transparency of the material brings more visual expressiveness to the overlapping images, therefore, a new form of observation is created. This form expresses the biology of the image as a social metaphor. I try to bring a different visual experience for viewers to ponder the questions about the consequences of human behavior in a wider time-space continuum.

Please RSVP to visit this exhibition:

OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, November 12, 2021, 6-8PM
Please RSVP to attend the opening:

ARTIST TALK: Friday, December 3, 2021, 6-8PM
Please RSVP to attend the Artist Talk:
[Sing Tao Daily/星岛日报] 蔡陈林個展「痕•跡」畫展
[World Journal /世界日報] 陳丹青弟子蔡陳林 456藝廊辦「痕•跡」畫展
[The China Press/侨报] 艺术家蔡陈林个展「痕•跡」亮相华埠