We end the week on another A Portfolio for the artists in Summer Salon at Modern West Fine Art in Salt Lake City, this time focusing on China-born Xi Zhang

Xi Zhang was born in 1984 in Kaifeng, China. Zhang’s work employs the psychological weight experienced in moments of turmoil and tribulations. His dreamlike narratives incorporate elements of melancholia, overbearing landscapes and foreboding atmospheres, obscuring the line between fantasy and reality. It is within Zhang’s compositions that the polarities of East and West are shown –– his brushstrokes recalling the water-colored mountains of antique Chinese scrolls and staining practices referencing those of American abstract expressionists. 

“As someone who has lived in both China and the United States, my work embodies a fusion of Eastern and Western visuals and techniques,” says Zhang. “I have always been intrigued by the possibilities of painting, and I find excitement in transforming non pictorial elements into new visual languages.”

The foundation of Zhang’s art practice is defined by themes of individuality versus unity, stemming from his personal study of Buddhism, Taoism and Existentialist philosophy. ”My personal experience and extensive, direct research with the psychology of community is the inspiration for compositions that seek to open up the viewer's appreciation of one another, offering a universal outlook of life,” he says.

Zhang’s paintings explore the universality of human experience — to grow and evolve, to navigate relationships, and even to struggle. Protagonist figures float amid ethereal landscapes, becoming entangled within the complicated nature of internal and external perception of oneself. It is in these psychologically driven, often ambiguous narratives that Zhang compassionately bonds the viewer with the knowledge that we are not alone in these mental moments of both hardship and prosperity.

Xi Zhang received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting in 2008 from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and his Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2011. Zhang was recognized by the Denver Post as the “Emerging Artist of the Year,” as well as one of the “12 Best Colorado Artists Under 35” and “Pathfinders” in the local arts. In May 2020, Zhang was awarded the SeeMe Grand Prize in Painting juried by Jerry Saltz and Christine Kuan for Art Saves Humanity.