MFA Student Beibei Chen Wins 2017 MFA Graduate Award from Ferris State University

Posted July 31, 2017 in MFA Painting, Master of Fine Arts, Student

The Ferris State University Fine Art Gallery has awarded the 2017 MFA Graduate Award to Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University’s (KCAD’s) MFA student Beibei Chen.

The annual award highlights the most outstanding piece of KCAD’s graduate thesis work through a juried competition among MFA students in their final year of study. Chen, who will graduate in December 2017, had her piece “Malignant Landscape” chosen by Ron Platt, chief curator for the Grand Rapids Art Museum, who juried this year’s competition.

work by MFA student Beibei Chen"Malignant Landscape" by Beibei Chen (image courtesy of the artist)

According to Chen’s artist statement, the piece frames microscopic lung cancer cells as a commentary on pressing environmental issues.

“Cancer cells are present in everyone’s body; they are part of our body, just like humans are part of nature. I decided to denominate cancer cells, as seen through a microscope, since environmental pollution causes lung cancer. The fundamental solution to environmental problems should be found in the way we look at ourselves, in the same manner that we look at the relationship between the world and human beings,” Chen wrote. “I hope to draw attention to environmental issues by examining the belief that human beings should be in harmony with nature and follow nature's course, which has been consistently valued in oriental philosophies.”

Prior to coming to the United States to study at KCAD, Chen earned a BFA from the prestigious Liaoning University of Technology and a graduate degree from Peking University School of Art, both among the top-ranked institutions of higher education in her native China.

Chen frequently collaborates with her twin sister Leilei, a 2017 graduate of KCAD’s MFA program, on both works of art and the publication of creative research. Their joint efforts have been exhibited around the world, including in the National Museum of China and the National Library of China.

“Malignant Landscape” is now a part of the Ferris State University permanent collection and is currently displayed on the MFA Graduate Award Gallery wall in the University Center.  Learn more about KCAD’s MFA program here.