• People
  • Jan 11, 2019

Living Color: Profile of Chinyee

Portrait of Chinyee in her studio with Longings, 2013, oil on canvas, 170.2 × 170.2 cm. All images courtesy the artist and Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong.

Raspy, trumpeted notes dip, jump and shimmy across a melodic scale, meandering spontaneously through a supporting rhythmic foundation of brassy hi-hats, double bass twangs and piano progressions. So begins Miles Davis’s legendary 1959 jazz album Kind of Blue—nonagenarian painter Chinyee’s one and only requisite studio soundtrack for the past decade. Improvised jazz, with its associations of subversion and liberation, was deeply evocative for numerous 20th-century artists, including abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock, minimalist Frank Stella, and
neo-expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Dubbed a “lyrical abstractionist” by critics, Chinyee is similarly partial to the
musical genre.