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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.

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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.

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2019

Exhibition view: Zhang Xuerui, River with Three Buoys, Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing (29 August–25 October 2020). Courtesy Galerie Urs Meile. 

Zhang Xuerui Featured Artworks

View All (15)
Alienated Substance by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang XueruiAlienated Substance, 2015–2018Old clothes, cotton thread, cloth, approximate 32 pcs
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
Scattered Moss No. 7 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang XueruiScattered Moss No. 7, 2020Watercolour on paper
58 x 77 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
432 202004 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui432 202004, 2020Acrylic on canvas
240 x 180 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
225 202003 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui225 202003, 2020Acrylic on canvas
150 x 150 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
100 201904 - 1 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui100 201904 - 1, 2019Acrylic on canvas
100 x 100 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
Cotton print by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang XueruiCotton print, 2012Mixed materials: used sheet etc.
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
432 201903 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui432 201903, 2019Acrylic on canvas
240 x 80 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire
400 201805 - 1 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui400 201805 - 1, 2018Acrylic on canvas
240 x 240 cm
Galerie Urs Meile Enquire

Zhang Xuerui Current & Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Zhang Xuerui, River with Three Buoys at Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing
Open Now
29 August–25 October 2020 Zhang Xuerui River with Three Buoys Galerie Urs Meile, BeijingBeijing
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, The Order Of Time at HdM GALLERY, Beijing
Closed
16 May–4 July 2020 Group Exhibition The Order Of Time HdM GALLERY, BeijingBeijing
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, LucerneLucerne

Zhang Xuerui Represented By

Galerie Urs Meile contemporary art gallery in Beijing, China Galerie Urs Meile Beijing, Lucerne

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