The sea meets the sky in the photos and paintings of this artist


EDMONDS – Gallery North invites you to meditate on the shore and the skyline with its May exhibition.

The gallery’s “Chasing Reflections” exhibition features works of art by Silena Wei Chen. The award-winning Seattle photographer and painter has approximately 25 works on display. Many images are inspired by scenes where the sea and the sky meet along the beaches of Edmonds.

The exhibition from May 1 to 31 features Chen’s series of water reflection photographs, India ink prints and metallic abstractions.

The title of his show is inspired by the pursuit of seascapes and sunsets for his art, as they are both ephemeral in nature.

Known for her painterly photography, Chen uses light as a paint and the camera as a brush to create surreal images.

“My technique involves long exposure and intensive camera movement,” she said. “All the colors and shapes of the clouds were captured by the lens, although I increase the contrast.”

Chen, 48, calls his photographs of the sea and the sky his “flagship work”. It was when she focused on reflecting water, adding India ink and metallics that Chen stretched her artistic imagination.

Silena Wei Chen left China for the United States 20 years ago. (Brian Vollmer)

“I love looking in the water,” said Chen, who has been a member of Gallery North since 2014. “Water dances with sky, wind and light. Dancing water renders a breathtaking form that speaks to me and inspires me. Every dance has a story behind it – I hope viewers can share a visual echo through my works.

In addition to photography, Chen also paints in oils and acrylics. His abstract paintings are a “collision of colors” meant to represent the place “where dreams and memories linger”.

While there is no opening reception due to COVID-19, Chen is expected to be at the gallery for a meeting from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on May 1 and again from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 20.

Originally from China, Chen was raised to value academics over art. But that didn’t stop her from collecting books on famous painters, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Gustav Klimt and Claude Monet.

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See “Dancing Water” in the “Chasing Reflections” exhibition by Silena Wei Chen.

She took up digital photography as a hobby in 2000. When she got tired of the point-and-shoot approach, she started editing her images with Adobe’s Lightroom software. It didn’t take her long to realize that she could make her photos look like paintings.

But it wasn’t until she joined Gallery North that Chen picked up a brush. (His hometown is Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang, China’s northernmost province.)

Chen holds a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Arizona. She has worked as a software engineer and architect, but takes a break from her career to focus on her artistic work.

In addition to Gallery North, Chen has exhibited his work at the Edmonds Arts Festival, the Center on Contemporary Art in Seattle, Kirkland Summerfest, Studio 103 in Seattle, the Harbor History Museum in Gig Harbor, the Shoreline Arts Festival, and the Asia Pacific. Cultural Center in Tacoma. .

Among her awards, Chen received special recognition in the All Photography and All Women art competitions, as well as a First Place Prize in Fine Art from the Photographic Society of America.

“Silena’s photograph can best be described as ‘from another world’ or ‘ethereal,’ said Leah Welch, spokesperson for the gallery. “When you look at your work, you get a feeling of calm, as if you were entering a wonderful dream. ”

Welch, who has been a member of Gallery North for six years, draws inspiration from the beauty of the Pacific Northwest to paint in pastels, acrylics and oils. Sometimes Welch trades his brush for a kitchen utensil or just uses his fingers.

Welch said she was excited to see Chen’s latest paintings – as the Seattleite saved their reveal for the solo show.

“His paintings were abstract with a lot of movement,” Welch said. “His paintings flow, keeping your eye moving on the canvas.”

Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; [email protected]; @sarabruestle.

If you are going to

View photos and paintings by Silena Wei Chen in the solo exhibition “Chasing Reflections” from 11 am to 5 pm May 1-31 at Gallery North, 401 Main St., Edmonds. Although there is no opening reception, you can meet with Chen from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on May 1 or from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 20. Call 425-774-0946 or visit for more information.



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