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Tracie Cheng’s abstract paintings play peek-a-boo with you. At first glance, the fluid lines seem to be thrown together in a shapeless jumbled mass. But look closely, and you will discover subtle forms taking shape. Focus on them, and meaning appears behind the lines, stories beneath the layers. Cheng’s paintings are a curious mixture of forms and the formless, and they challenge you to see beyond the obvious into the mind’s eye.

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New Haven, Connecticut-based artist Cheng graduated with a degree in Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. It was the beginning of her love affair with art and design, and she believes that this was destined to happen. For as long as she can remember, art has been her refuge. Time and again, Tracie turns to art to pose questions, seek answers, and find meaning. Creating art is a soothing and soul-lulling experience for her.

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Although Cheng is trained in a strict and rigid discipline like Architecture where the creator has to confine his vision within a framework of hard lines and stiff angles, many of her creations exhibit a surprising degree of softness. Tracie attributes this influence to her love of watercolors, a medium that she discovered after her schooling and one that continues to inspire her and creep into her paintings.

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The process of creation is a profound experience for Cheng. She is inspired by a real-life incident or dreams up a story and approaches her canvas to give shape to what is brimming in her mind. She is full of ideas and hopes and strives hard to make her passion not only come alive on the canvas but also transcend it.

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However, there are also moments of fun during this intense creative process when Cheng lets go of all control and lets her brushes and colors lead her. She gives free rein to the strokes and shapes that come flocking to her mind. She lets intuition guide her, and she is content to let one stroke flow into the next to create motifs that then take on their own meanings. The results of this free-flowing creative process are just as stunning—the canvases seem to spin their own tales of color, composition, and flow.

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Because Cheng dabbles in two widely different forms with their wildly different moods—the hardness of lines and strokes and the soft fluidity of watercolors—the creative process also challenges her to maintain a delicate balance. But she welcomes the challenge. She believes that while the rigidity of the lines and strokes keep her disciplined, the fluidity of the watercolors gives her the freedom to step outside the confines of a formal structure and explore the boundaries of design. The result is a rich creative experience that helps her grow as an artist who is unafraid to dream and express her visions.

Creating art is an immersive experience for Cheng, and she hopes that her creations trigger the same emotions in her audiences.

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