Continuing through September 22, 2018
Raphaël Goethals and Wanxin Zhang have seemingly little in common. Goethals is a Belgian painter who moved to the U.S. in the 1980s, and Zhang is a Chinese sculptor who relocated to the States in the 90s. Their work draws from their respective cultural histories and how those histories merge with experiences in their new homeland. Goethals was immersed from a young age in Flemish art and the Northern Renaissance Masters. Zhang’s artistic moment of enlightenment came from viewing the Xian army of 8,099 clay warriors. While both artists’ ideologies are informed by these significant cultural experiences, their work also shares a dream-like, textural quality.
Goethals’ paintings are meditative, carefully executed dream-scapes infused with barely perceptible geometric forms to ground the viewer’s eye. She begins her paintings with an ancient technique of applying pigmented wax to birch panel, creating a textured background for her work, “often in the color red, the color of our insides” the artist explains. Her encaustic works are a collaboration of European meditative exploration of color and light, with a more Americanized take on abstract expressionism. Zhang’s sculptures incorporate a socio-political influence that he buries under layers of fired clay. Figurative forms are hinted at, but often obscured by texture and color, hiding a greater historical and cultural meaning that is buried beneath layers of material. These two artists, unique in their approach and execution, create a harmonious exploration of the impact of one’s cultural background in their art.