The Wenzhi Zhang Sculpture Garden


Wenzhi Zhang

Wenzhi Zhang

Educational Experience
Ph.D at Seoul University of Science and Technology
Master of Fine Arts, Guangdong Academy of Fine Arts
Professor of Ceramics, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts

Duality- Stoneware and Bronze - QCC Art Gallery/CUNY, New York, 2011
Duality-A Modern Drama - Ph.D thesis exhibition, Seoul University of Technology, Seoul, 2010
Please Don’t Forget The Dragons- Flying Horse - Biannual Korean International Exhibition, Seoul, 2009
The New Mankind Collective Exhibit, Copenhagen, 2007
The New Mankind- My Family: Contemporary Ceramics Work - Crystal Windows Art Gallery, New York, 2005
The Tenth National Fine Arts Juried Exhibit - Guangzhou, 2004
Beyond Tradition- Oslo International Ceramics Symposium - Norway, 2003
Ceramics by Wenzhi Zhang- Affinity with Water and Fire - St. John’s Museum of Art, North Carolina, 2001
The New Century- China Contemporary Art Works - Gallery of Chengdu, Chengdu, 1999
Ceramics by Wenzhi Zhang - National Art Museum of China, Beijing, 1998
Female Artists of the Century - Group Exhibition, “Best in Show”, Beijing, 1998
Chinese Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition - Beijing, 1997
Ceramics Country- China Contemporary Ceramics - Organized by the China Ministry of Culture,
A travel exhibition throughout Europe, 1996
Ceramics by Wenzhi Zhang - Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Guangzhou, 1992

International Ceramic Park in Skaelskor, Denmark
ShunFeng Hotel Management Co., Ltd. Kunming, China
International Sculpture Park of Madeul, Korea
National Art Museum of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
National Museum of Art, Oslo, Norway
Korean Palace Kiln Museum, Gwangju, South Korea
National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China
TianJin Dadi Asset Co. Ltd., Tianjing, China
Shenzhen Nanshan Sculpture Academy, Guangdong, China
Illinois State University Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Culture Department of China, Beijing, China
Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Guangzhou, China
QCC Art Gallery/ CUNY, Sculpture Park, Bayside New York, USA

Contemporary Ceramic Art and Design, Guangdong Higher Education Press, 2001. Guangzhou, China.
Millennium Fire, Renmin Fine Art Publishing House, 2001. Beijing, China.
Ceramic Classroom, Hunan Literary Publishing House, 2001. Hunan, China.
Art of Contemporary Materials, Lingnan fine Art Publishing House, 1993. Guangzhou, China.

Cuyo University, Argentina
Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul, South Korea
New York University, New York, USA
National College of Art and Design, Oslo, Norway
San Jose University, California, USA
Illinois State University, Illinois, USA

Special Award Busan International Urns Competition, South Korea, 2010
Special Award Busan International Urns Competition, South Korea, 2009
Award of Excellence Guangdong Fine Arts Exhibition, Guangzhou, China, 2004
Purchase Award Chinese Women of the Century, Beijing, China, 1998
Silver Medal National Modern Ceramics Exhibition, Shanghai, China, 1997
Bronze Medal Guangdong Fine Arts Exhibition, Guangzhou, China, 1994
Award of Excellence National China Exhibition, Guangzhou, China, 1993
Award of Excellence Guangdong Fine Arts Exhibition, Guangzhou, China, 1989
Award of Excellence Guangdong Fine Arts Exhibition, Guangzhou, China, 1984

About the Exhibit

In 2011, the QCC Art Gallery established a cultural exchange with Guang Zhou Academy of Fine Arts in China resulting in the exhibition Duality, a series of works in clay and bronze by sculptor and Professor Wenzhi Zhang. The artist displayed groups of cast or fired sculptures representing human figures of deeply personal interest to Zhang. These included females in progressive stages of physical decline: deeply honest representations of contemporary women in changing roles. She also created caricature-like (but clearly identifiable) Red Guard figures of the artist’s own childhood, transformed into ludicrous clay figurines, starkly naked except for identifying head gear and carrying parcels of Maoist literature for distribution. Zhang also took on the vast history of Chinese myth and folklore, reconfiguring the image of the dragon to endow it with human attributes, rather than bestowing upon that august creature the more traditional traits of turtles, fish or snakes. The special virtues attached to her sculpted forms emerge both from her imagination and subconscious levels of ancestral conventions.

Duality was an investigation into transforming political and social realities as well as of the physical nature of her materials. Deliberately employing vastly different substances, she recorded her observations: “bronze is ornate, clay breathes simplicity, bronze is cold, clay is passionate, bronze is cast, clay is fired….” Zhang looked at the alteration of her materials when subjected to the physical extremes of casting and firing, thrilling in chemical transformation. The exhibition fortuitously combined the notion of change across the spectrum—physically, socially and politically—in a union of form and content. Here and throughout her work, Zhang deploys the language of art to reinterpret our world and to take hold of our lives and our history through the reinvention of familiar and outmoded symbols.

QCC Art Gallery is delighted to engage in a new collaboration with the artist resulting in the acquisition of forty-one of Zhang’s sculptures for our permanent collection: the New Mankind series. Her ceramic personages, a compelling amalgam of human, animal and vegetable forms will continually inhabit the gallery’s outdoor space, an idyllic setting centrally located on campus. Visitors will find an even more welcome refuge in the “Wenzhi Zhang Sculpture Garden.”

Zhang’s New Mankind shows a strong kinship to the biomorphic abstraction found in the works of surrealist artists Joan Miró and Jean Arp. The figures, though abstracted, reflect forms found in nature. They are still-growing, living presences. Standing upright, often lifesize, they are worthy of a respectful regard, like garden sentries. However, they belie any impression of self-importance. Whimsical and colorful, they are casual, and in accord with their landscaped home—an inviolable place where everyone can step outside of their daily lives for a peaceful interaction with nature.

Zhang’s beacons will welcome one of the most diverse populations of students as well as the community at large. Her New Mankind series resculpts the topography of our garden and creates meaning to a natural space. As do all exemplary works of art, Zhang’s New Mankind allows the viewer to participate in its meaning. Her personages over time will develop a patina of age from its outdoor surroundings and from engaging with a multitude of peoples from all nations who bring their extraordinary experiences to bear.