Haute RE Magazine

Harmony of Movement and Thought

The Colourful World of Zhang He

Imagine natural forms, full of promise, bursting into life that never fades. You’re beginning to understand the appeal of Zhang He’s explosive abstractions. He uses oil paint so thick it looks like solid bouquets of colour.

Giving, 2022, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 48 x 2 inches - Zhang He
Sea Waves, 2022, Oil on Canvas, 40 x 40 x 3 inches - Zhang He

There are echoes of the Québecois Automatistes movement in Zhang’s sculptural brushstrokes, spontaneous and bold expressions of qi.  There’s also a deep memory of American abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock. Yet Zhang’s work has a distinctly Chinese character — what some experts term ‘calligraphic’.

For Zhang, Abstract Expressionism and the Automatistes were departure points in his career. Other inspirations include Helen Frankenthaler, Chaim Soutine, and Egon Schiele.

Born in Shenyang in the Year of the Rabbit, 1963, Zhang studied art and stage design before embarking on his painterly journey. He came to Montréal with his wife in 1998 and stayed. There is more than a little performance in his creative process. He is tremendously physical and works at a grand scale as you can see in images of his studio.

Like a Tornado, 2022, Oil on Canvas, 48 x 36 x 2.5 inches - Zhang He
Fog & Whispers II, 2021, Oil on Canvas, 60 x 48 x 3 inches - Zhang He

Though reproductions of his art are beautiful, only face-to-canvas experiences truly convey the depth of Zhang’s work. Haute is delighted to be able to announce an exhibition in collaboration with Zhang He’s Vancouver representatives, Kostuik Gallery at the Hollybridge presentation centre in Richmond. The exhibition will open on January 23rd and run through Chinese New Year.