Artist Statement

My recent series “Metallic Leaf Garden” explores how the individual’s mind reshape‘s one’s physical environment. Contemporary pyschological theory allows that our conscious, emotions and subconscious can be akin to “paint” that consistently colors our reality. My investigation towards this incorporates a variety of individual psychological realms, depicting them in fictionalized surroundings to justify the relationship between one’s perception and one’s reality. I utilize a mixture of expressionist/abstract aesthetics in a subtle, theatrical way to construct the characters’ environments, reflecting on their internal thoughts, struggles, personality, and/or problems.

Xi Zhang, 2015


About the Artist

Born in 1984 in Kaifeng, China, Xi Zhang has been immersed in the practice of art throughout his entire life. Upon completing his studies in painting as a teen at China’s Beijing Institute of Art and Design, he moved to Denver where in 2008 he received his BFA from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, followed by his MFA in painting from CU Boulder in 2011. Along the way he was recognized by then Denver Post art critic Kyle MacMillan as the “Emerging Artist of the Year,” who also later named Zhang one of “12 Best Colorado Artists Under 35” as well as one of seven “Pathfinders” in the arts.

Zhang has received enormous support from Colorado art collectors, curators and the art community over the last decade. In 2011 the Denver Art Museum featured Zhang in their prominent Logan Lecture series as part of their focus on International Contemporary Chinese Artists. In 2012 Zhang received his US citizenship as an “Artist of extraordinary ability,” paving his way for numerous accolades to follow including his selection by the Denver Biennial of the Americas to represent the US at the URRA artist residency program in Buenos Aires that same year. In 2013 the City of Denver presented his largest exhibition to date “Xi Zhang: 21st Century DNA” at the McNichols Civic Center Building, filling the entire 2nd floor of the building with his paintings. In 2016 Zhang received the Gold Medal top prize for painting by Art Forward, was nominated for the John Moores Painting Prize with related exhibition at the Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, and was likewise nominated for the the Premio Combat Prize, with related exhibition in Livorno, Italy. Zhang spent the summer of 2016 in a prestigious artist residency in New York City through invitation of Marc Straus, who along with his wife Livia have one of the most valuable contemporary art collections in the world.

Metallic-leaf Garden

Golden Compass

Yellow Machine

Permanence Without

Second Hand Memories

Permanence Within

Dream Dusts

The Birth of a Million Tear Drops

Post Convulsions

The Fortune Dealer


Awaking Dreams of Spring