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Stella Zhang
at the Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco, San Francisco, California
Recommendation by Dewitt Cheng

Continuing through September 5, 2010

Stella Zhang is a young Beijing-born, classically trained artist who recently moved to the Bay Area and is making her American debut with "0-Viewpoint." This group of paintings, sculptures and installations is the third hosted by this venue in a series on contemporary Asian-American artists. Her nearly monochrome paintings on canvas, with their granular textures and rocklike forms, have been collected by Asian art museums, but it is her untitled sculptures, decidedly subjective and untraditional, that steal the show.

Composed of sewn, stuffed white fabric and bearing overtly sexual implications - phallic pillars, vaginal incisions or tears in bedsheets, chairs, slippers (or food or internal organs) that are often ridged by wooden skewers or spikes - the works will discomfit viewers seeking philosophy and serenity, though the white fabric somehow makes the Louise Bourgeois-styled imagery elegant. The hilariously weird highlight for this viewer was a circular array of spiky soft sculptures resembling a dinner plate or a children's swimming pool invaded by insect eggs - or worse. Zhang considers the works to be "embodiment[s] of ... inner conflicts and struggles ... [located] between reality and dream" and open to viewers' interpretations. That they certainly are.

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