Twin Strands (LOT 579) is a signature work that represents the close relationship between Zhang Chunhong and her identical twin sister Zhang Chunbo. The images are portraits, with Chunhong on the left and Chunbo on the right, highlighting their distinguishing physical trait: Chunhong is left-handed and Chunbo is right-handed. Each strand of hair is meticulously rendered with a confident and refined brushstroke, a tribute to Zhang's rigorous training in traditional Chinese gongbi (fine-line) painting and studies in Western drawing. The diptych is also symbolic of Zhang's reference to the Chinese folk tradition of door gods, which take the form of a pair of prints flanking a doorway to protect the people living inside. Traditionally the gods are male, but here Zhang suggests that women are fully capable of protecting a home. In addition to addressing her own personal and cultural identity, Zhang is acutely aware of her stylistic inspiration from the water studies by Southern Song master Ma Yuan, which are known for their depictions of different states of water: calm, rolling, raging. Herein, each strand and brushstroke is meant to suggest the constant flow of water as symbolic for states of flow in life.
Zhang is the recipient of the Pollack-Krasner grant and her works have been exhibited at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, Asia Society (Texas), and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo. Her works are held in the public collections of the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, The Kansas City Collection, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, White Rabbit Collection, China National Art Museum, and Hong Kong University.
1The Big Bang: Contemporary Chinese Art from the White Rabbit Collection, White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, Australia, 2010, p. 340
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