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Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds Ocula Conversation Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds

Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson's artworks.Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The animator has...

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Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger Ocula Conversation Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger

In 2012, Melati Suryodarmo opened Studio Plesungan in her native Surakarta, also known as Solo, the historic royal capital of the Mataram Empire of Java in Indonesia. Suryodarmo had returned to Indonesia from Germany, where she studied Butoh and choreography with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, time-based media with avantgarde...

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Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City Ocula Report Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City 15 Nov 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Under the direction of Folakunle Oshun, the second edition of the Lagos Biennial (26 October–23 November 2019) includes works by over 40 Lagos-based and international artists, architects, and collectives. Curated by architect Tosin Oshinowo, curator and producer Oyindamola Fakeye, and assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Zhang Xuerui

b. 1979, China

Zhang Xuerui Biography

Beijing-based Chinese artist Zhang Xuerui predominantly works in abstract colour fields, painting smooth calculated monochrome canvases with tonal variations implemented through a repetitive grid-by-grid approach. While this formal exploration of the core qualities of colour and space remains a dominant concern, the artist also examines human relationships in her apparel- and furniture-based installations and textile artworks. With a growing presence on the international art circuit, her work has been exhibited in galleries and art fairs across Europe and Asia, and features in the Australian public collections of White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, and Cruthers Art Foundation, Perth.

Born in Shanxi Province in 1979, Zhang's formal style is unique to her life and experience. Her artistic influences and education are rooted in China, where abstraction is more than a complex conceptual pursuit; it is an ordinary, everyday aesthetic seen in abstract designs ranging from calligraphy to historic imperial ornamentation. Her grids reflect the square used in practicing calligraphy more than any metaphysical concept. Graduating with a BA in 2004 from the Architecture department of Beijing's Central Academy of Fine Arts, the artist displays principles of order and technical process common among architects in her painting technique.

Before the first brush stroke the overall tone of Zhang's canvas is meticulously pre-planned in sketches. Strictly dividing the canvas into an orderly grid, the artist typically applies three pre-set colours to separate corners. Establishing a gradient of tones through an interlocking grid process of gradually shifting colours, the artist works quickly on each row while the paint is still wet. Often the evidence of this process—the grid-lines and fast-paced blending strokes—are subsumed by the work's rhythmic pattern. Overall, the artist's process and the formal qualities in these artworks underpin an engagement with subtle gesture, drawing the audience's attention to the finest variations of colour within the cellular structure, whereby a single detail or moment rather than the whole preoccupies our vision.

Drastically more personal and emotive, Zhang's textile-based works and installations—such as Cotton print (2012) and Pulling Sweater (2011)—utilise blankets and clothing once worn by the artist or her family members. Cutting up these items associated with personal memories and experiences, and repurposing them to make new patterns and layouts—often resembling abstract painting—the artist expresses the nuances of her identity—both personal and cultural—through everyday materials.

Biography by Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

View All (11)
100 201904 - 1 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui100 201904 - 1, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
100 x 100 cm
Galerie Urs Meile
Cotton print by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang XueruiCotton print, 2012 Mixed materials: used sheet etc.
Galerie Urs Meile
432 201903 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui432 201903, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
240 x 80 cm
Galerie Urs Meile
400 201805 - 1 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui400 201805 - 1, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
240 x 240 cm
Galerie Urs Meile
216 201808 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui216 201808, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
120 x 180 cm
Galerie Urs Meile
100 201712 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui100 201712, 2017 Acrylic on canvas
100 x 100 cm
Galerie Urs Meile
100 201803 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui100 201803, 2018 Acrylic on canvas
100 x 100 cm
Galerie Urs Meile
100 201709 No.1 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui100 201709 No.1, 2017 Acrylic on canvas
100 x 100 cm
Galerie Urs Meile

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Zhang Xuerui, The Everyday as Ontology at Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne
Closed
6 June–17 August 2019 Zhang Xuerui The Everyday as Ontology Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne

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