Lacquer is a curing process that results in a finish that ranges from ultra matte to super high gloss. The word itself evokes luxury, durability and depth. On August 21st at Joy Wai Gallery, which is an art space of note on 18th Street, had a VIP preview of the latest lacquer paintings by renowned Chinese artist Wenzhi Zhang.
Arte Fuse had a great opportunity to sit down with Zhang and her daughter present to translate on what fueled her passion for this lost art. Her body of work is prolific and this series on view is going back to something what she studied in college – the traditional finishing technique of lacquering. Her work was introduced to Joy Wai, namesake owner of the gallery, by art patron & show sponsor, Michael Bolla. Zhang is thankful for Michael’s generous support and very impressed by Joy’s endless energy with her late hour studio visits. It has been quite a journey from China to the artist’s current studio space in Soho. But it is a journey that is indeed passionate as the works glimmered with such warmth.
The gold foil and background of vibrant red or even the elegant black pulsed with a deliberate nod to tradition but coupled with innovation. The resulting impact is a very lush modernism, which Zhang skillfully pulls off in layers upon layers of lacquer. The lacquer utilized by Zhang comes from the sap of a tree and unprocessed. It is not the polymer and volatile compound that’s widely used. By Zhang’s own admission that the synthetic lacquer is dead in itself while the natural one she used for her paintings is alive. It will continue to change the character of the piece, be a catalyst to enhance it and will look great as time goes on. Other abstracts on display evoked a field of patterns and the leaning brushstrokes pays homage to the art of calligraphy. The undulating sequence of certain shapes or variation of tint provides a rhythmic visual register that punctuates and fades like a well composed sonata. What the eyes swim in, the emotions also take part in the subtle nuances of the finely executed paintings in Zhang’s current lacquer series.
The real luxury here is not only the material and how it is manipulated in the paintings. As a viewer, you get seduced by the history and passions of the artist. It is the seductive glimmer that not only enriches your sight but also your heart.
Natural Lacquer Paintings by Wenzhi Zhang
Public View Dates: September 13 – October 4, 2012
Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday (12 – 7 pm) / Weekends by appt. only
Joy Wai Gallery. 122 West 18th Street. New York, NY 10011
To view the opening, please see video link: https://vimeo.com/48120281
art review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
artwork images from Joy Wai Gallery courtesy of the artist
event photos & video by: Deukyun Hwang
- Michael Bolla Has A Love Affair with NYC and Art
- Windows Gallery presents: Scott Weingarten “Women and nature series” from Dec 27, 2010-Jan 06, 2011
- Windows Gallery presents: Scott Weingarten "Women and nature series" from Dec 27, 2010-Jan 06, 2011
- Synthesis at Bottleneck Gallery curated by Justin De Demko
- WISECARVER – RENT MONEY
Sign up for our newsletter!
- Danilo Perez Panama 500 The start of Summer brings a bounty of splendor: beachy days and starry nights, barbeques and… »
- Crank a Fish & See the Origins of Consciousness at ISE Cultural Foundation Spiritual fulfilment has often been… »
- Attendees at the MFA Photography Graduate Thesis show at The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center Gallery Commiserating over… »
- Eric Starosielski's studio Eric working on a new price in front of Angkor Wat, Late After Sunset, a back lit… »
- 21st Precinct art show Guests at the opening Over the weekend, the old 21st precinct in NYC hosted an art show with… »
- Art night at COOHAUS in Chelsea Perusing the cool art at COOHAUS Art lovers come out in the summer in Chelsea to cool… »
- Sarah Doherty Heinrichs Opening at New Century Artist Gallery An artful feast in Chelsea on Thursday Art Night Getting… »
- Image: Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monument Transpositions, Washington, D.C., 2005. Medium density fiberboard,… »
- Archeologists have found an area in Turkey which might have inspired the Garden of Eden story. Gobekli Tepe is a region… »
- Sam Trioli, S. (Installation View), courtesy of the artist and Farm Project Space + Gallery In this day and age it seems… »