zhang

Daily Lives

Creating art is a process of self-examination, and this process enables me to collect my thoughts. We live in complex time that is in many ways defined by excessive want, greed, and waste. We all pursue a good life, but in this pursuit, do we really have choices? Without recognizing or aspiring to a specific destination, my art is a record of everyday life. This gives me an opportunity to look at myself more closely.

We all react to materials, whether we find them attractive or frightening. The desire for stuff makes one greedy and afraid at same time. We privilege finished commodities, but not how they are packaged. We shop at Safeway, but care little for the plastic shopping bags (unless we save them to collect more garbage). We ignore the cardboard used for packaging many of the goods we consume. We are overflowing with stuff, but this stuff must be made available to us and it has to be packaged. This packaging embodies a history and its own special language. Releasing plastic bags and cardboard from useless connections to human character enables one to redefine them. Perhaps they point to new concepts. Maybe their individual qualities have been neglected with the development of the consumer society. These objects contain many meanings that overlap. They represent our lifestyles. Damage, chaos, survival, and fragility define their relationship with humans. Faith and doubt are expressed in the objects illustrating the relationships between complexity and balance, order and disorder, attraction and repulsion.

I try to move freely in my works. Vast space blurs the boundary of areas and life events melt into a repeated circle. This is both my life and my work.

 

0-Viewpoint

Creating art is a way of examining my inner self, my true self. Creating art is my way of interpreting various emotions and spiritual thoughts; to remove the mask in order to show the true face of human nature. At times, I will create art as a process of rethinking myself. In my life, I have experienced many impulses, both physical and mental, that have taken me from one place to another. I have adapted to new environments and cultures. Living at the intersection of Eastern and Western cultures has influenced my vision of life. My mind is usually hovering between what is real and what is imagined. Therefore my work is very personal and reflects my inner conflicts and struggles. Many events in our lives happen naturally and frequently. Over time, we may become apathetic and neglectful of everyday occurrences, and even ourselves. This illustrates how people think and navigate through life, but recognizing the significance of small items can influence how we see everything around us. Seemingly insignificant details reveal the sensitivities and weaknesses of human nature.

We are consistently being challenged by feelings of confusion and lucidity, loss and hope. In addition, the place between an actual experience and a dream could also make one feel lost as we often struggle and seek out a space in which to escape.

My work is emotional and embodies a relationship that falls between reality and dream, rather than a description of a specific story. My work utilizes images to provide hints and/or clues leaving the viewer to his or her own conclusions. Each individual viewer will have a unique way of seeing my work, according to the life experiences and psychological state that the viewer has at that time. I am attracted to a type of beauty that is flexible and uncertain, like a mood that is troubled and emotional, casual and sensitive. Imperfection indeed creates a new harmony. I have tried to metaphorically open a new space in my work to remind the viewers to interact with the piece. This allows them to dig out all the possibilities of the inner powers of the piece. Whether the reaction is positive or negative, it is an emotional response. This process of viewer creation promotes a way of seeking better solutions as well as other new energies.

When I create a piece, I feel like telling my viewers about my own stories. The interpretation and vision will be left up to my viewers to imagine and decide for themselves. I like to use direct and pure language to explain themes. I use simple and basic elements to do the job giving up unnecessary details in order to maintain the fundamental element of the inner meaning of the artwork. The clarity of the work creates an intellectual and emotional relationship with the viewers, rather than giving fixed anticipations and expectations. The exhibition space, in relation to the work, is meant to be a guiding or interpretive tool. The meaning of my work demonstrates a state of mind in everyday life: a friendly, familiar feeling. Therefore, I choose raw and ordinary materials to create familiarity, closeness, and to stir emotion. I hope to create an image containing a natural quality of tenderness and flexibility evoking the viewer's memories directly and peacefully. The purpose of using a white background is to give the effects of flatness, delicacy, ethereal and quiet. Differential light emphasizes the expansion of space, not only demonstrating clarity, but setting an assertive control of existence of "spirit." The molding and sense of light combine illusion and gender, suggesting that the activity of temperament is prone to meditation and spiritual freedom, at times drifting, at time rebellious.

The expansion of space creates a field with pressure, so the work is not fixed due to the various elements used, which also demonstrate the faces of vitality. During production, I work extemporaneously disregarding rules and boundaries. The freedom and diversity of artistic language enables me to find and channel my intimate needs of expression.

 

A passage of '0'

Our keen awareness of life often transcends us to a realm of much deeper intuition ripened for our spiritual awakening. This spiritual awakening discerns the taste of an artwork. The realm of '0' has always inspired me to search for the rhythm of life's essence or its energy when released.

My works care more about life than a mere creativity expression of making arts. I've committed to connecting my life experience with life's changes evolving around the shape of '0'.

Often the ordinary objects in my life as tiny as a drop of water, a piece of withered wood branch or a handful of sand from nature can arouse my most delicate feelings for them. They frequently become my sources of inspiration to transform these '0s' into my artworks.

Because these materials come from nature and their simple elements among the creation, these subjects are my searches for the infinity without boundary. True beauty can only be discovered by ones who see the macro/ micro, subjective/ objective, art/ science, yin/ yang, east/ west,… and to have completed the incomplete. These contrasting properties strengthen my inner freedom to envision many imaginary spaces, their flexible elasticity, their infinite extension and permanency as implied by '0'.

'0' is my pursuit, a response to life's spirit essence or my Asian's taste of revelation in life. '0' has cleansed, filtered, distilled, accumulated and recorded every bit of my life experience to create an '0-energy' realm on canvas. The energy stored within '0' sphere is a condensed substance field to transform the complex to the common simple, the human physical to the divine and mystical. These imply a perpetuating force to continue along the ever changing universe.

Multiplying '0s' connected the fragmented visual points in the environment by giving birth to the organisms within the revolving circles of earth. Every object in life rotates around a full cycle of birth, beginning, crack, mutation, merge, death, end, rebirth as depicted in my '0' series. The revitalizing energy helped me tremendously to inject life into my arduous art making process. From these '0s', I have found my loss to replenish my future consistently. These joining power has energized my consciousness to express their fluidness and richness among the passage of time.

The spiraling '0s' reinforced my realization of the interrelated succession of the ecosystem. These '0s' refreshed myself with a 'beginner's heart' in the daily endeavors of mine. They always offered me a space or realm with progress to do a house cleaning of my mind to free my self-centered soul to reconnect with and resume an original spirit. When I little think of achievement or think of self, I've become a true beginner to really learn something. A beginner's heart often owns a gentle spirit of compassion. When my heart is compassionate, I then notice that I can start to re-examine the trueness of life and learn from life.

As an artist, I pray sincerely that my artworks may interact with viewers to initiate more caring heart for making the world a better place together where we all live with greater compassion.

For me, '0' is Zen, an awakening, a realization, a compassion surpassing the form or format. They recorded many traces I've treaded upon in life to seek the spirit within the living organisms via the language of their own to represent their portraits of nature.

'0' is Tao, it is in my passage rather than my path. As I looked into the spirit of cosmic change- I tried to register the eternal growth which returns to itself to produce new forms in harmony, in pureness and in oneness.

 

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