The flower motif dominates Zhuang Hong Yi’s work – a significant image in Chinese culture which carries countless meanings and emotions yet with equally strong associations with the Netherlands, world famous for its flowers – and he works patiently and religiously on this subject, year-after-year, intricately crafting his works with care and forethought. Zhuang’s well known and highly collected ‘flower bed’ works are crafted from delicate pieces of painted rice paper, which he has bent and folded into hundreds of tiny buds creating seductive, tactile works.
In this latest collection, Zhuang has developed his technique from working with a single uniform color to creating dual and triple colored works that subtly shift from one dominant color to another as the viewer moves his body and eyes from one side of the work to the other, adding movement and a visual tactility to the works. Utilizing the traditional Chinese material of rice paper, the works represent Chinese aesthetics, meditations on color, nature and form, whilst the emphasis on technique and uniformity and the focus on his handling of material are all lessons adopted from the Sichuan College of Fine Arts where he first studied.
Zhuang’s painted canvases bear the influence of Impressionism and other Western artistic practices. Working with a freedom of style as if liberated from his native country’s well-established artistic traditions and boundaries, his impasto strokes of daring bright colors are expressive and unconfined. Colors melt together and paint drips down the canvas, seeping over a collage of delicate unfolded rice paper flowers. The almost sculptural three-dimensionality makes these works both a painting and an object. Messiness, variety and chance are all embraced, drawing the viewer in, encouraging contemplation as they immerse us in a tapestry of colors and form.
Contemporary artist Zhuang Hong Yi is based in the Netherlands but was brought up in China. It is this combination of Chinese background and European influence that marks Zhuang Hong Yi’s work. Embracing his present without losing his past, he attempts to define a sense of self that exists between the two. Zhuang enacts this personal struggle visually, vacillating between phases of controlled planning, emotional gesture and careful editing, creating works that represent beauty, sophistication and perfection.
Zhuang Hong Yi has exhibited throughout Europe and China; his work is held in numerous esteemed public and private collections worldwide and has been the subject of multiple museum exhibitions at Groniger Museum, Groniger and the Netherlands.