Zhang Ji is an artist whose sweeping-colours of paintings focus on mosaicked patterns or relief-centred geometrics, laid down edge to edge. Spare, elegant and texturized, his paintings offer a delicate balance between composition and decomposition, sturdiness and ephemerality. They begin as strikingly, repetitious patterns, but then move beyond, toward a consummate painterly expression.
In this exhibition opening at Volery Gallery and entitled Subliminal Matrix, this precisely calibrated selection of 12 paintings, created from 2018 – 2020, demonstrates Zhang’s wholehearted engagement with the very structures and systems of painting.
The series, simply titled The Skin of Truth, features the artist’s minimalistic yet richly intricate detailed artworks which appear to radiant into immediate material presence whereupon he shapes the aesthetical effect.
Approximating a studied observation of sacred sites with their classical designs and backgrounds, Zhang possesses an instinctive talent for meticulously working in forms, shapes and structures. The Beijing-based artist is primarily drawn to the harmony and rhythm of religious architectonics for their tactility, physical presence, and in creating complex straight lines-making grids or parallel diagonals within fragments of decorated motifs.
From earthy tones to magnetic blue and crimson red etc, Zhang used a variety of rich, bright hues as well as pure white, black and grey etc. His process calls attention to the paintings’ silken surfaces, loaded with oil paint; strengthened with the sheer physicality and expressive power of his medium. Gazing at these ethereal, atmospheric embossed-like paintings provide the viewers the sensation of a commanding optical quality, floating freely, bulged and ebbed, as if unanchored by gravity.
Zhang sees his paintings as meditative. Thus, the resulting works are calming, luminous forms rendered in an irresistible palette; striking for its subtle yet dramatic patch of illumination, which is perhaps their greatest appeal. It is a poetic exercise in giving colour and texture enough weight to stand alone, without the support of delineated forms.
All in all, Zhang’s paintings evoke familiarity and memory in their vastness of collective illumination.
Scroll down below to have a sneak peak on Subliminal Matrix exhibition.