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Talk about potential. Xi Zhang is brimming with it.

His solo exhibition, which concludes its all-too-short run Saturday at the Rule Gallery, would be a notable accomplishment for a veteran artist.

But considering that Zhang is 23 and just graduated last month from the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design with a bachelor of fine arts degree, it’s nothing short of astonishing.

The show, titled “12921,” is in no way the kind of small backroom offering expected of a still-emerging artist. Instead, it is a full-scale blowout with 15 acrylic paintings that fill nearly the entire gallery.

But this isn’t just a question of quantity. This young Chinese artist already possesses an integrated, well-developed and surprisingly mature artistic vision, which plays itself out with impressive creativity.

Like so much contemporary Chinese art, his work deals with notions of identity. This is an obvious subject in a country of more than 1.3 billion people, a place where homogenizing Maoist uniforms were the norm just a few decades ago.


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