I was recently sent a collection of images which are part of a compilation of Zhong Biao’s recent work, no doubt in conjunction with an upcoming showing (I have yet to confirm this). His most recent (2010) works are demonstrating the same mix of his hyper-realist, digital photographed-based painting with pure abstraction that he began in 2008. The result continues to be quite positive, even an improvement. For instance.
The title 水调歌头 refers to an ancient poetic form (Song dynasty). It was used famously by Mao Zedong in a 1965 poem. The occasion was Mao’s famous swim in the Changjiang River (Yangtze), which he used to demonstrate his ongoing good health in the face of stiff political opposition.
I saw this particular image in process when I visited Zhong in his studio in September (photograph October 8 in this blog). He’s added some children, and some ghostly faces. Otherwise, the composition is the same. In my conversation with Zhong about his approach to particularly abstract elements of his canvas, he explained that it was really a matter of establishing a balance of planes of the image. Once these are secure, a process which could take anywhere from an instant to a month, the additional imagery would easily find its place.
Clearly, there is an architectural, or perhaps just spatial, aspect to this approach (common enough to all visual art). What may be Zhong’s singular accomplishment is melding these planes with particularly the structures, contours, and planes of the human body. One of the best examples of this melding (bird included) would be Today (今天) :