From Andrew Frost…
The real challenge for an artist isn’t so much making one successful work of art as it is about making another after that. For painters that task is even harder, with the demands for the development of an individual style and approach, and the elaboration of a particular subject and personal voice. Chinese-born painter Zhang Rui presents a body of work that is the result of her first year in Sydney. The exhibition, a collection of paintings presented in ‘constellations of loosely connected themes and subjects, is more an autobiographical recoding of images and thoughts than some strict stylistic progression, and its precisely this approach that gives the exhibition its charm.
Sometimes using the web as a source for her paintings, or as the result of direct observation, Rui’s work reflects her education in the techniques of Western oil painting and her interest in the Wumen School painters of China. The subjects vary, from paintings of birds, still lives, and harbour scenes, to what might be a self-portrait, images of lamas, rabbits and Kevin Rudd. The exhibition is rich with an individual eye for detail and subject, a beguiling and effecting view of a city new to the artist, and a culture as surely alien as any extraterrestrial.
Until August 17
Pic: Zhang Rui, Kevin Rudd (2013), oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.