Graduating from the Oil Painting Department at Hubei Institute of Fine Arts, the practice of artist Zeng Fanzhi (b. 1964, Wuhan, China) resists easy categorisations of technical and stylistic conventions. In so doing, he has accumulated a strong and versatile oeuvre that traverses diverse approaches to the production of images. In particular, his keen insights on and sensitive relationship to the practice of painting have resulted in a constantly expanding range of possibilities in mark-making and material treatment that draw from his profound physical, emotional and spiritual perceptions of the world that surrounds him.
Engaging with inherent dualities in social and natural environments, Zeng has actively questioned the limits of representation since the development of earlier painterly work such as his ‘Hospital Series’ and ‘Mask Series’, while his later ‘Landscape Series’ marks a new experimental approach towards the fusion of Eastern and Western treatments of form, space, texture and colour. Melding the densities of history and contemporaneity within a single plane, Zeng’s work pushes traditional formal boundaries to allow new articulations in the vocabulary of painting to emerge. Causing viewers to reevaluate their assumptions towards the complex realities of the physical world that confront them, Zeng’s poetic, imaginative and deeply moving visual language secures his place as one of the most critically acclaimed contemporary artists in China.