Jonathan Smart Gallery is delighted to present its second solo exhibition by Zhonghao Chen, a recent graduate in painting from the Ilam School of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury.
In this body of 14 works, Zhonghao has created painterly surfaces in his many and varied ways with brush, pallette knife, and quite possibly the kitchen sink. How he suggests narrative is also interesting: he hints at it, moves in one direction, then often deliberately confounds or obstructs it. Zhonghao gestures towards landscape – the foundation for composition in paintings where a horse drawn carriage is about to clip clop into oblivion, or a twister straight out of science fiction is about to overwhelm Dorothy’s dream home in Kansas. Cataclysm is close, but good painting can save us. For Zhonghao is a wonderful romantic. He talks about democracy within a painting – he’s a Utopian maybe. Some of these works feel awkward or even overworked, but he’s nothing if not ambitious for paint. His compositions are stretched along diagonals, and teeter between careful figuration and exuberant abstract passages of thick, highly wrought paint.
Press release courtesy Jonathan Smart Gallery.