Zhong Biao had his second opening at the newly situated Frey Norris Gallery in San Francisco this weekend. The exhibition was titled “Reflections on Air” (selected by the gallery) in English and 漂 in Chinese. The distance between these two effortlessly (as ever) spanned by Zhong’s prodigious generosity, answering questions, chatting up one and all at the post-opening party, and generally making himself popular. Of course, his longtime translator Shi Shi and others, myself included, facilitated conversation with those who did not know Chinese. In such circumstances, though, I rather feel Zhong could handle the matter on his own. Not because he speaks English (he does not), but because he’s so infectious in his enthusiasm that it almost doesn’t matter.
This one (“Blank Pages”), was clearly the major work of the 10 or so on display. Situated rather unfortunately behind the service counter (though this did make lingering over the painting while filling one’s wine glass a convenience), it drew the most attention and conversation.
I found myself, nonetheless, drawn to the image “Leisure”
Though rather inscrutably titled, I find the treatment of light in this painting to be a significant departure for Zhong Biao, an almost Monet-type obscurity to the figures, something recapitulated in the 19th-century aesthetic of the train station itself. This is in Zhong’s case characteristic time bending (or collapsing), but it is so without, ironically, much pretense to innovation. Modernity coming home, late at night and with few to greet it, and calling it a century.