Spotlight: Chinese artist Zhuang Hong Yi’s vibrantly colored ‘field of flowers’ paintings are an ode to the cherry blossom

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About the artist: Chinese artist Zhuang Hong Yi is famous for his mesmerizing and intricate “Flower Field” series of paintings. These almost psychedelic, sculptural paintings are the artist’s contemporary homage to the ancient Chinese art of floral painting. Zhuang recently celebrated his 60th birthday and, to mark the occasion, Galerie Martina Kaiser in Cologne is hosting ‘In Bloom’, an exhibition of the artist’s recent paintings.

Installation view “Zhuang Hong Yi: In Bloom” (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Why we love it: Zhuang’s paintings are composed of raised folds of paper painted in kaleidoscopic colors; the hypnotic works seem to change hues as the viewer changes perspective. In this current exhibition, the artist is particularly interested in representations of cherry blossoms. In these works, Zhuang weaves twigs, branches and flowers into the three-dimensional structures of his paintings, while his dramatic manipulation of color seems to capture the metamorphosis of these spring flowers.

The cherry blossom has special significance in Chinese culture: the tree was first cultivated in China’s Himalayan mountains around 2,500 years ago. Flowering at the end of winter, the tree has become a symbol of virtue and perseverance. In these works, Zhuang also recognizes the artistic traditions of the Qing dynasty, an era considered the height of flower and landscape painting, using traditional materials such as rice paper, ink and silk, as well as than the paper folding technique. His color schemes, meanwhile, indirectly reference Western masters, including Impressionists like Monet, Cézanne, and German Expressionists like Franz Marc and Emil Nolde.

According to the Gallery: “’In Bloom’ is an ode to the beauty of nature as well as the relevance of Eastern and Western art with all its stories and traditions. And in difficult times like the ones we are experiencing right now, this ode could also be seen as an act of encouragement and empowerment, once again symbolized by the iconic cherry blossom,” wrote the Martina Kaiser Gallery. in a press release.

See the images from “In Bloom” below.

Zhuang Hong Yi, ZHY-B02228 (2022).  Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Zhuang Hong Yi, ZHY-B02228 (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Zhuang Hong Yi, ZHY-B02225 (2022).  Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Zhuang Hong Yi, ZHY-B02225 (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Martina Kaiser.

Zhuang Hong Yi, ZHY-B22172 (2022. Courtesy of Martina Kaiser Gallery.

Zhuang Hong Yi, ZHY-B22172 (20220. Courtesy of Martina Kaiser Gallery.

“Zhuang Hong Yi: In Bloom” is on view at Galerie Martina Kaiser until June 22, 2022.

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