The exhibit “Journey, Continued” is a reflection of the different stages of artist Jian Guo Zhang’s life and his personal matter of feeling displaced and insecure during his transition.
Located at Klapper Hall’s art gallery on the fourth floor, his journey is composed of three stages: 1979 to 1997, 18 years ago before he came to the United States, 1997 to 2015, his time in America, and 2016 to his future endeavors.
The opening reception took place Feb. 25, where Zhang went into depth on his artwork. The exhibition will be on display until Mar. 4.
Having spent years of experimentation and dedication, Zhang’s exploration of the realm of realism takes spectators into his life journey as a Chinese immigrant adapting to living in America.
The gallery gives students, as well as professional artists, opportunities to grow and share their creativity with the community.
Zhang’s paintings hang throughout the walls. Depending from where one stands, one wall has paintings that are predominantly in black and white. The wall across has paintings full of color, emotion and positivity.
Museumgoers may interpret his work depending where they stand. The black and white wall portrayed his insecurities, doubt, loneliness and anxiety. The colorful wall represents his adjustment and learning experience of coming to his new home.
“My artwork represents who I am and who I am still becoming,” Zhang said. “My favorite painting that I’ve done is the ‘Leaf’ painting. It expresses how I think and feel being a Chinese immigrant and not settling down. Leaves float away from the tree and are separated from their roots. My tree is China and I am the leaf.”
He has two leaf paintings. One explains the contrast between China and America in a collage form. The other is an oil painting with blue and gold tones that does not contain a collage.
Sponsor of the exhibit, Professor Sin-Ying Ho, said she was very impressed with the exhibit and experienced numerous emotions throughout Zhang’s showcase.
“As a Chinese immigrant and artist myself, the power of his paintings speak for themselves. The color and passion shown in his leaves gave me such an extraordinary feeling. I was able to appreciate his work in so many ways, not only as an artist but as an immigrant coming to a new home,” Ho said.
Brittany Nieves, a sophomore, stated she admired Zhang’s courage and expression in art.
“His style is unique, profound and inspiring. I commend him for sharing his experiences with us, as well as, expressing it through art,” Nieves said. “It is not easy to change and make sacrifices, nonetheless, share it with strangers.”