HomeNewsNorth Charleston City Gallery to exhibit works by Dengke Chen and Valerie Hanks

North Charleston City Gallery to exhibit works by Dengke Chen and Valerie Hanks

The City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department is pleased to announce that digital illustrations and animations by Florida based artist Dengke Chen and mixed media works by Valerie Hanks of Texas will be on exhibit at the North Charleston City Gallery from September 5-28, 2018. Admission to view the concurrent solo exhibitions is free.

Dengke Chen of DeLand, FL, creates digital illustrations and animations that balance environmental, economic, sociological, and aesthetic dimensions of our landscape through strategic research and design. Chen designs illustrations based on rare historical photographs and news stories, then adds an interactive component through an augmented reality technique often used in displaying 3D games and animations. Viewers are presented with wall-mounted images that, when viewed through the screen of a digital tablet, are transformed into animations with alternative imagery and narration. “Unlike the single narrative storytelling techniques used in traditional animations to amuse and entertain audiences, my animations have nonlinear narratives that engage viewers to critically reflect on social and ethical issues,” Chen explains. In his exhibit Humanimal Kingdom, Chen presents a view of a world where construction and expansion has dramatically altered the landscape and changed the native species’ way of life. Dense smog is occurring in cities across the world, causing respiratory diseases and death. Masks invented for protection from poison gas and dangerous levels of air pollution are growing in use. With narrations created from the animals’ point of view, Humanimal Kingdom is a digital animation/installation depicting the environmental impact of our civilized world, its consequences, and by-products.

Dengke Chen earned his MFA in New Media with concentrations in new media art, 3D animation, and computer games from Pennsylvania State University in 2014 and his BA in Animation with concentrations in illustration and comic art, 3D animation, traditional animation, and 3D motion graphics from China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2010. His work has been featured in a number of solo and group exhibitions in galleries, museums, and educational institutions in China and throughout the US, as well as film festivals around the world. Chen has executed numerous commercial and research projects and has also worked as an art director on a popular children’s TV show at the China Central Television. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Arts in the Department of Creative Arts at Stetson University in DeLand, FL. Learn more about the artist at chendengke.com.

Crop Rotation – Mixed Media works by Valerie Hanks
Since 2003 Valerie Hanks of Huntsville, TX, has centered her art making practice around shrinky-dinks, a form of shrinkable plastic invented in the 1960’s. The shrinkable plastic material can be drawn or painted on and cut down. Once heat is introduced, the thin two dimensional sheet of plastic transforms into a three dimensional object that takes up space. This plastic material is put through intense stress; it contorts, shrinks, melts, and folds into itself, only then to rebound and emerge as something new and stronger. “I find this to be an exciting metaphor for the human condition,” Hanks states. In her exhibit Crop Rotation, Hanks presents a colorful collection of new paintings and sculptures, informed by the desire to explore more traditional materials within her studio practice. This body of artwork marks a playful expansion of material possibilities, while continuing to investigate what it means to be human. Hanks relies on drawing to link her personal experiences of longing and curiosity with historical, mythical and contemporary archetypes of feminine longing found in literature, film, and life.

Valerie Hanks grew up moving from one side of the country to the other, inspired by the idea of adventure, play and discovery. She earned her MFA from Washington State University and an MA & BFA from Stephen F. Austin State University. In the studio, she is most concerned with the intersection between drawing and sculpture as well as the magical possibilities of creating art with shrinkable plastic. Her work has been widely exhibited across the US & abroad, at venues that include: Blackfish Gallery (Portland, OR), The Ogden Museum (New Orleans, LA), Gallery 50 (Toronto, Canada), The Can Serrat International Art Center (El Bruc, Spain), and La Porte Peinte Centre pour les Arts {Noyers sur Serein, France}. Valerie currently resides in Huntsville, TX, where she teaches and coordinates the WASH (Workshop in Art Studio + History) foundations program at Sam Houston State University. Valerie is deeply invested in contemporary scholarship surrounding foundations pedagogy & was recently elected President of FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education). Her artwork is currently represented at 500x Gallery in Dallas, TX, and La Porte Peinte International Arts Centre in Noyers sur Serein, France. Learn more about the artist at valeriepowell.com.

The North Charleston City Gallery is situated in two corridors of the northwest corner of the Charleston Area Convention Center, located at 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston. Parking and admission are free. Gallery hours are Tuesdays 12-5pm, Wednesdays 11am-5pm, Thursdays 11am-7:30pm, and Fridays 11am-5pm.  Inquiries regarding the artists or purchase information may be directed to the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at (843)740-5854. For information on additional exhibits, programs, and events, visit the Arts & Culture section of the City’s website.