Furong Zhang: Crossing the Dry Sea

October 14 – October 28, 2022

Gallery 456 is pleased to present Crossing the Dry Sea, a solo exhibition of Furong Zhang’s recent works, on view October 14 - 28, 2022.

“Crossing the Dry Sea” is a solo presentation of recent oil paintings by Furong Zhang addressing emotions and ideas revolving around being a first-generation Chinese American immigrant. Zhang’s paintings explore concepts of alienation and displacement, self-contradiction, power structures, industrialization, and historical erasure through allegorical figurative scenes juxtaposing mythologized memories and experiences of living in China and immigrating to America. The figures in the paintings are in the process of transformative journeys, and act as metaphors of how an immigrant’s utopian dreams collide and coexist in uneasy harmony with the reality of contemporary American society and notions of belonging. An aura of an aftermath permeates through the paintings, as the surroundings that the scenes take place in fluctuate between interior and exterior as if they are psychological landscapes.

Zhang’s paintings are full of longings and rebirths. Rebirth as an autobiographical metaphor of immigration and reconceptualization of one’s identity in face of a changed social environment, and rebirths as the process of digestion of a lived history takes place, resulting in imagery surrounding transformation. The pieces in the show reflect upon and reinterpret universal mythic archetypes and traditional Chinese mythology related to cycles of life (especially from “Classics of the Mountains and Seas”, a seminal work of Chinese mythology) to question how echoes of past tales both real and fantastical may come forth into the collective present. Symbols such as opera masks, rabbits, and porcelain pieces recur throughout.

The figures exist in uncertain roles and positions to one another, as if fleeting scenes glimpsed along a collective hero’s journey. They partake in mysterious actions they seem to question themselves existentially; the way the figures act or carry themselves is a reminder to the viewer that one’s physical body absorbs their personal and collective pasts and carries it with them.

The title of the exhibition asks: What does it look like journeying across the dry sea of the mind, a symbolic space of transformations, in-betweenness, and a search for meaning? How does one situate oneself in an absurd society?

Opening Reception & Artist Talk
Friday, October 14, 2022
5-6PM Opening Reception
6-7PM Artist Talk & Exhibition Walkthrough