My art is a reaction to social media platforms, pop culture, and globalization. Today, massive commutation and interaction occurs between individuals, communities, and countries through digital media and wide-spread use of continuously changing social platforms. The ease of “virtual” travel blurs traditional references relating to identity and culture, creating a dual existence between the physical and virtual realms. This hybrid phenomenon emerges from every culture, leading to uncertainty.
In my painting practice I combine technology-based pop-icons – from sources such as Facebook, video games, cartoons and advertisements – with historical icons such as classic Asian and European paintings, traditional photography and ancient calligraphy, as a way of processing our hybrid culture under the impact of technology and globalization.
The twelve different bodies work I have developed to date each have their own unique aesthetics, though some series maintain multiple aesthetics. In each I strive to depict a landscape of uncertain living environment: west versus east, old versus new, local versus globe, physical versus virtual, low art versus high art. Beyond my often psychedelic coding is a path that challenges the viewer to consider each element separately, deconstructing them until they no longer carry their original tags.
About the Artist
Born in 1984 in Kaifeng, China, Xi Zhang has been immersed in the practice of art throughout his entire life. Upon completion of his studies in painting at China’s Beijing Institute of Art and Design, he moved to the United States to further his artistic training at Denver, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from RMCAD in 2008, and that same year was recognized by then Denver Post art critic Kyle MacMillan as the “Emerging Artist of the Year” for his “well developed, surprisingly mature vision.” Zhang continued from there with his masters studies in painting at the University of Colorado, Boulder, receiving his MFA from the institution in 2011. That same year he was named one of the “12 Best Colorado Artists Under 35″ as well as one of seven “Pathfinders” in the arts also by MacMillan in the Denver Post.
Zhang has presented his work in a number of notable solo exhibitions including “12921” at Rule Gallery, Denver, “Shows Promise” at the Jeppessen Terminal of Denver International Airport, and “11 Ceremonies” at Plus Gallery, Denver. In 2011 he was commissioned by CNN for their “Ripple” online international art project in commemoration of the ten year anniversary of 9/11, with his painting receiving more
than four million hits from the news channels website. Later that year Zhang delivered a Logan Lecture at the Denver Art Museum as part of the prestigious series’ fall focus on International Contemporary Chinese Artists. In 2012 Zhang received his United States citizenship as an “Artist of extraordinary ability,” paving his way forward towards a career as a US-based artist. His work has been acquired by some of the most prominent contemporary collectors and curators in the state of Colorado.