Chen received his BFA in Oil Painting from Hubei Institute of Fine Arts, Wuhan, China in 2012, and an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 2018. He was the recipient of the Headlands Graduate Fellowship Award in 2018, the Swatch Art Peace Hotel Artist Fellowship in 2019 and Leo gallery Artist Residency in 2020. Chen's works have been included in exhibitions at Leo Gallery HK, ART 021 Shanghai，Headlands Center for The Arts, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Root Division, Live Worms Gallery, CARe Doug Adams Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, among others. Chen's works are in many prestige private collections in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Brisbane, Australia and Shanghai, China.
Kai Chen's abstract paintings and drawings explore ideas of color theory, abstraction and minimalism. Through laborious and meditative hatching marks or stippling, the layering of colors and the modeling of tones, Chen attempts to complicate the relationship between gestural mark-making and notions of masculinity as dictated by the mid-20th century Abstract Expressionists. His practice and distinct visual language aims to expand and transcend restrictive definitions of masculinity to include a broader expression and spiritual contemplation of the sublime.