San Francisco ceramic artist Wanxin Zhang's "A Ten Year Survey" will be coming to the Richmond Art Center in Richmond, California from April 3rd to June 2nd, 2012. The opening reception will be on Saturday, April 14th from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.
The Richmond Art Center is honored to present this exhibition that will feature 20 pieces of work made within the span of 1999 to 2009.
This national traveling exhibition has most recently been hosted at the Holter Museum of Art in Helena, Montana. Previous locations include the Arizona State University Art Museum, Boise Art Museum in Idaho, Morean Arts Center in Florida, and Bellevue Art Museum in Washington. The exhibition was organized by Peter Held, curator at Arizona State University Art Museum. The Richmond Art Center exhibition marks the show’s last stop after traveling for two years.
Zhang grew up during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) where he learned the phrase “long live Chairman Mao” in elementary school. He grew up believing that Mao was a God-like figure and that everyone should listen to him. It wasn’t until after Chairman Mao’s death that Zhang realized he was merely an influential political figure. Zhang was struck by how strongly a political propaganda controlled people’s thinking and beliefs. When Zhang visited the Qin Terra-cotta Warriors in Xi’an, he realized that political propaganda had been in control ever since Emperor Qin ruled over 2000 years ago. Qin ordered the creation of thousands of terra-cotta warriors to protect him in his afterlife, just as Mao ruled tens of thousands of Red Guards.
Zhang's larger-than-life sculptures reinterpret ancient history, contemporary politics, and today's culture, along with his master craftsmanship and profound understanding of human emotions. He hopes that his figures will create a personal dialogue for the viewer that could be thought provoking or humorous. "Art should always reflect the viewer's own life and journey at one moment in time or allow for a personal connection to another," Zhang said.
Before Zhang emigrated from China to San Francisco in 1992, he was known in China for his cutting-edge metal sculptures. He was a young artist with lots of activities in Northeast China and Beijing. His work has also been collected by the National Fine Arts Museum in Beijing. After settling in San Francisco and immersing himself in the regional art scene, his style and characters are both deeply influenced by Bay Area ceramic artists. Now, he is one of the leading, new generation of ceramic artists in California. His art is not just a reflection of the original warriors - he includes in them a new sense of spirit and meaning.
As a studio artist and educator, Wanxin Zhang is a first place recipient of the Virginia A. Groot Foundation Grant in 2006. Since 2010, he has been a lecturer at the UC Berkeley Department of Art Practice.