Xiaoqing Zhang’s beautifully airy paintings demonstrate that tradition can be full of life. Zhang paints with watercolor and ink on rice paper in what seems, in many ways, like a classic Chinese style. Her brushstrokes are expertly calibrated, her shapes are spare but nuanced, and her scenes rest against the familiar white space that serves as a background in so many ancient Chinese brush paintings. Her subject matter is timeless as well: sprigs of flowers, koi, roosters, or a simple tea service.
Zhang’s work, however, contains an x-factor that is partly pure verve, and partly the knowledge of the many styles of contemporary art. Zhang calls the masters of Chinese painting her main influences, but she also benefits from seeing the bold lines and graphic compositions of non-representational and abstract art. Her hand is alive with energy, and her colors are unexpected and playful.
Zhang was born in Shandong, China, where she continues to live today. She has exhibited in her home province and her work was once selected for use on a Chinese national stamp.