September 21st - October 15th, 2023
Opening Reception: September 21st and September 23rd, 2023
Zhang He (b. 1963, Shenyang, China) obtained a Bachelors in Painting from the Lu Xun Art Academy (Shenyang, China). He has been part of several international exhibitions in the last two decades, including the Florence Biennale (Italy), the National Gallery of Thailand (Thailand), Art Toronto, Art Palm Beach and Art Bejing. Zhang has been featured in numerous publications including: Vie des Arts, Canadian Art, and Parcours. First arriving in Vancouver in 1997, Zhang currently lives and works in Montreal.
Through a dynamic language of abstraction, Zhang’s oil paintings convey a visceral engagement with the surrounding natural environment while evoking the depth of human emotions. With a calligraphic execution, his bold and gestural brushstrokes demonstrate a unique physicality and spontaneity, which resonate with early influences of Abstract Expressionism and the Automatistes Movement. The luscious colors and rich textures dictate each composition by accentuating its inherent physicality, and in doing so, add a sculptural quality to the painting.
Every artist has their artistic inspirations rooted in the Masters. For Zhang, the Automoatistes and Abstract Expressionists are close to his beginnings. Other inspirations include Helen Frakenthaler, Chaim Soutine, and Egon Schiele.
While the expressiveness of his painterly strokes makes a statement of their own, Zhang is not deliberating creating the physical appeal of texture; rather, this multi-layered process is an integral element of his work to achieve an overall state of equilibrium on canvas: between positive and negative spaces, the thick and thin, and contrasting color tones, etc. For the artist, the very act of breaking existing compositional patterns is particularly challenging yet essential, in order to achieve a harmonious formulation of movement and thought. As such, Zhang engages in the ongoing art historical dialogue to push further the boundaries of abstract painting. Ultimately, he seeks to evoke a fundamental state of existence through an intimate encounter with nature, life in all of its forms, and the plethora of human emotions. Each work is an intuitive process and they all depend on how feelings come to the artist. Zhang paints with the canvas flat on the floor which is where the dialogue for him begins.