new works coming out of the Zhong Biao Studio, an increasingly impressive operation that includes a number of capable assistants, including recently graduated (from Sichuan Academy of Art, where Zhong teaches) 张晨, about whom there will be more to say later on I hope.
I understand that Zhong is casting about for new approaches, but for the moment he is responding to very real pressures to produce work for a string of exhibitions, including his most recent US show in May at Frey Norris followed in September by a more major exhibition in Seoul. I find indeed a certain flagging of energy in some of his works, where the formerly rather pure juxtapositions of concrete-isms (in fact, sometimes just concrete) were enough to set in motion ruminations old, new, near far and seemingly everywhere in-between. Since his forays into abstraction have become mainstays of his work, a certain leveling off of the edges of significance come into effect, a flattening onto too two－dimensional space.
Then again, there are those images which achieve something close to total vindication of his current approach, and they’re not that uncommon. Why an old man in blue pants with white hair and a cup of coffee setting off a cacophony framed in red seems to ‘say it all’ (to me anyway) I don’t know, but it does. And though something powerful sits with the old man hunched forward on his recliner, it is so much more as it grows up the canvas.
距离 Removed 200 x 150
and just for good measure (and because its a nice photo), the artist with the painting:
And though the following is not a good image (of much lesser resolution and therefore not of its greatest impact here), I think this perhaps an achievement in the realm of connecting his abstraction with an acutely rendered object, again the recliner (what is it about that chair?)
The first painting is called “distance,” the second “yearning” 思念 , and both are evidence that there’s still some mileage yet in his approach. How much mileage will depend on how long he can go on producing, under considerable time pressure, images like these.