Though Zhang Ying trained as a figure painter, she is drawn to the spiritual qualities of the Chinese landscape painting tradition and has focused the last few years of her practice on landscape, rock and tree paintings. Chinese painters of the past portrayed landscapes to reflect the vastness of the universe. Similarly, rocks represented a microcosm of nature to which artists turned for inspiration and meditation. Zhang draws from these legacies and transforms them into her personal visual language. According to the artist, she endeavors to create a space for reflection between the present and the spiritual. Indeed, there is a meditative quality in each of her paintings—along with their poetic titles—that invites our contemplation.
Wind at Sunset (2016) recalls the rock in the painting Auspicious Dragon Rock, attributed to the emperor Huizong (r. 1101–1125), one of most prominent petrophiles in Chinese history, who spent huge sums to gather the finest specimens of rocks from all over the country to decorate his gardens. Heart of Strength (2016) depicts a large rock holding strong amid the tumultuous waves crashing against it, embodying the resilience and solidity that rocks are believed to possess.
Zhang Ying received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, where she specialised in ink and figure painting. This is the first time her works are exhibited in Hong Kong.
POP ROCK in 2021 is Alisan Fine Arts’ first time working with the artist. For our debut in Asian Art in London at Cromwell Place in 2022, her recent works will be on display.