Evian Wenyi Zhang: Homecoming
4650 W Washington Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90016
Saturday, June 1 at 5:00 PM 7:00 PM
Ends Jul 13, 2024
Chris Sharp Gallery is pleased to present the US-debut solo of the Chinese, Berlin-based artist Evian Wenyi Zhang. The unique pictorial practice of Evian Wenyi Zhang seeks to address contemporary image consumption. Deploying a special technique that isolates and repeats instances of specific, enigmatic imagery, Zhang depicts these instances on small discrete canvases, which are then arranged into a grid. The paintings in this exhibition are made with airbrush and accompanied by framed photographs which do not consist of source material, but rather quasi-abstract corollaries thereof, functioning like pendants on the paintings. Vacillating between the forensic and obsessive, Zhang’s analytical approach to images brings up everything from historical cubism to Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up to the photographic collages of David Hockney, not to mention Roland Barthes' idea of the punctum. It is as if she has zeroed in on the punctums of a given photo, circumscribed them, and then repeated them, with slight shifts of perspective, in an attempt to disclose their spellbinding appeal. Indeed, what she creates are as much analytical interrogations of photos as they are productions of images, which are not without a certain pathos– that of seeking to arrest the endless, nonhierarchical flow of digital images and inscribing it into something epistemic and human (hence, perhaps, the painting). The source material for the images tend to draw from the artist’s own personal experiences of the world and screens through which it is often interfaced, referencing her travels, romantic life, and memes. This particular body of work is based on images collected during a short period of time she spent in South East Asia, a region of the world that she associates with vacation-taking as a Chinese national. After such a long time abroad, she experienced the visit as a kind of “Homecoming.” When all is said and done, while Zhang’s work feels bracingly contemporary, it is rooted in the classical, in the sense of Baudelaire’s dualistic definition of modernity: “the transitory, the fugitive, the contingent, that half of art of which the other is the eternal and immutable.” What she makes ultimately offers numerous ways to reflect on our contemporary relationship to images while proposing an entirely novel approach to the oldest known artistic medium, painting. Evian Wenyi Zhang (b. 2000, Shanghai) lives and works in Shanghai and Berlin. She holds a BA in Art History from New York University. Solo exhibitions include Flight girls, skeleton and vampire bug, Lulu by X Museum, Mexico City, MX (2022). Select group exhibitions include (2024) To Supplement the Fragment, Public Gallery, London, UK; Palai, organized by Balice Hertling, Penang, Malaysia; Weaving in Entanglement, Mending in Punctures, 69 Art Campus, Beijing, CN; (2023) Old Sky, Old Dirt, New Grass, Travesia Cuatro, Madrid, Spain; Plastic Stars, Tara Downs, New York, US (2023); Into, Over, And Underneath, Public Gallery, London, UK (2023); Beijing Biennial, Beijing, CN; We Borrow Dreams from Others, Like Debt, MadeIn Art Center, Shanghai, CN (2022); USB Multi-port Linking Exhibition, MadeIn Gallery x In The Park store, Shanghai, CN (2021). Zhang's work is part of institutional collections including How Art Museum, Shanghai, CN; M Woods Collection, Beijing, CN; and X Museum, Beijing, CN.