Wanxin Zhang – Ambassador
Dimensions: 30 x 18 x 13″
Media: fired clay with glaze
Wanxin Zhang’s fired clay with glaze work, Ambassador, uses Zhang’s characteristic drips and layering to reveal a physical representation of worldliness; the work’s title indicates that the figure is a representative—where Zhang uses the accumulation of pigment to parallel the accumulation of global experiences. The work also plays with concepts of national identity and patriotism in the way that the bust is an inanimate and personal representation of Zhang’s cultural identity and a contemporary approach to China’s historical role within a global context.
Wanxin Zhang is a Chinese artist who has spent much of his career creating and teaching in the United States, after moving to San Francisco in 1992 to receive his Master in Fine Arts at the Academy of Art University. Zhang’s work often focuses on blurring the line between the past and present; after visiting the Qin dynasty terra cotta warriors, Zhang observed that many of the regulations associated with the oppressive Chinese government were not specific to a contempo-rary context, but have been implemented throughout Chinese history. Zhang uses his clay works to sustain a critical and analytical dialogue on the political atmosphere within his home coun-try—simultaneously playing with the contrast to western democracy and the artistic liberties it has allowed him. Zhang’s work has been influenced by Bay Area artistic movements such as the figurative and funk movements, and draws from the work of artists like Stephen de Staebler and Peter Voulkos. Zhang’s sculptural works are typically made with clay, which allows him to “push the boundaries of what clay can express” and “to see how [he] can truly incorporate [his] purpose, inspirations, and critiques to reflect life”.
by Keira Seidenberg