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28 Mar 2018

Xi Zhang

Marc Straus

Reviewed by Harry Newman

A sense of loss and displacement pervades the paintings in Xi Zhang's first solo show in New York. Despite the bright, nearly Day-Glo colors in most of the canvases, the overwhelming feeling is of melancholy and foreboding. Isolated figures, often hunched or disabled, are stranded in shifted, out-of-joint spaces. A garden grows through the floor of a bedroom where a blind boy stands on the bed. Pink trees line banks of a white-capped river with a line of Henry Darger-like girls in pinafores wading in.

The touchstones are fairy tales and nightmares, inflected through art history and contemporary American reality. In Christina's World (2017), a crawling female figure looks up towards - not a farmhouse and barn - but a toxic, orange landscape of barren trees and dilapidated corrugated metal sheds, warped by human neglect or natural disaster. Zhang's intentional jumble of colors, imagery, references, and brushwork reflect the constant strangeness of a world in decline.

Exhibition Xi Zhang link
Start date 16 Feb 2018
End date 01 Apr 2018
Presenter Marc Straus link
Venue 299 Grand Street, New York City, NY, USA map
Image Xi Zhang, Christina's World, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 108 inches, courtesy of Marc Straus

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