Born in 1963 in China, Zhang was a successful creative art director in an advertising agency and renowned Shanghainese figurative painter. Over 10 years ago, he converted himself to abstract painting in resonance with his own truth and understanding of art. For him, the art of painting has travelled from visual reproduction of figurative images into the stage of inner spirit. Abstract, as well as Expressionism, Symbolism and surrealism, emphasizes the demonstration of mental reality and spiritual appeal, both of which are non-visual. Mind, feeling and sudden insight, leave the trace by color and media. The trace shows the unique beautifulness of abstraction.
Abstract art is not just about dots, lines and how they connect, nor is it just the opposite of figurative art. Not only do abstract artists gain creative motifs from their life experiences, all artists do. There has never been a set definition of abstract art. There shouldn’t be one now or in the future. Abstract art to Zhang, is when form and content converge and eventually become one, or when the way, the traces of the way indeed, is the content. It is the way an abstract artist searches for beauty, or rather, the origins of beauty beyond the physical world. A mature abstract artist would know where to stop at the traces of his or her way whose destination is never clear.
Zhang Hong creates and imagines. Is he really trying to tell us something with his art pieces, does he have a mission toward the viewer? The artist has certainly been travelling along the way searching for the kind of beauty human eyes don’t see in the physical world, looking for metaphysical beauty. His passion for expression and standards for colors and materials has long been uncompromising as though predestined. The artist does not believe in using terminologies borrowed from ideologies, philosophy, literature, and theories to elevate the work.
Hong would generally use the principles of subtraction to create the artwork he envisions, like an experiment in a laboratory with the use of colors and traces, peeling parts of the finish to create new forms, new shapes. He only titles his paintings with dates, since he believes that literature and abstract paintings belong to two different realms. If you ever try to give a particular name to a certain painting, then it goes into the literary realm, losing its original purity of the artwork itself. He presents the essence of emotion, time, spirit and history by discarding the content. By doing abstract painting, Zhang finds his own language, his own expression and his own personality.