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‘An Opera for Animals’ at Rockbund Art Museum Ocula Report ‘An Opera for Animals’ at Rockbund Art Museum 19 Jul 2019 : Penny Liu for Ocula

An Opera for Animals was first staged at Para Site in Hong Kong between 23 March and 2 June 2019, with works by over 48 artists and collectives that use opera as a metaphor for modes of contemporary, cross-disciplinary art-making. The exhibition's second iteration takes up a large portion of the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai (22 June–25...

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Mandy El-Sayegh: Productive Ambiguity Ocula Conversation Mandy El-Sayegh: Productive Ambiguity

Moving across installation, painting, drawing, and writing, Malaysia-born and London-based artist Mandy El-Sayegh explores the political, social, and economic complexities of humanity, using a mosaic of information—from advertising slogans and pornographic imagery to newspaper articles—that she subjects to processes of layering,...

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Get Up, Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House Ocula Report Get Up, Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House 5 Jul 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House in London (12 June–15 September 2019) surveys more than half a century of black creativity in Britain and beyond across the fields of art, film, photography, music, design, fashion, and literature.Curated by Zak Ové, works by approximately 100 intergenerational black...

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Zhang Xuerui

b. 1979, China

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.

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

View All (10)
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
100 201709 No.2 by Zhang Xuerui contemporary artwork
Zhang Xuerui100 201709 No.2, 2017 Acrylic on canvas
100 x 100 cm
Sold
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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