IT was a sophisticated jamboree at the Zhang Gong “Miss Panda” and Zhao Bo “Vibrant City” combined exhibition opening at Eli Klein Fine Art Thursday night. With bursts of fantastical colors and a fine selection of tasty flat breads (as well as decorative people) to go around, Eli Klein Fine Art gallery provided a warm and energetic atmosphere where the worlds of East meets West, the Simpsons meet PRC soldiers, and the old days of China meet the rapid modernization of a New China all seemed to collide.
I spent my first couple of minutes looking at the works of Zhong Gong with a smirk and a youthful giggle here and there at the sights of Homer Simpson, Mickey Mouse, Kungfu Panda, and Carmen from South Park, all of whom make several appearances from painting to painting. Zhong Gong has also created the character of Miss Panda, who appears with the popular Western animated characters in his works, to represent how China and Western culture are brought together in a contemporary and collective global context. Zhong Gong’s paintings are entertaining with their intricate details and references to Western pop culture via cartoon characters.
Zhao Bo’s works focus on the cultural and political changes that have developed in China within the past three decades, as expressed in the wide-eyed portraits he paints of China’s citizens. In the wild color palette Zhao Bo has chosen for his works, the artist churns great contrast between China under Chairman Mao and the China of today, where citizens are awed by prospects of contemporary life, in which luxury goods and advertisements serve as by-products of globalization. Zhao Bo has a great talent for fusing colors onto canvas with interesting subjects and expressions.
With great and relevant concepts in these shows, I recommend a visit if you can, but know that you’ve probably seen something like it before.
Zhong Gong’s “Miss Panda” exhibition and Zhao Bo’s “Vibrant City” exhibition run from March 4, 2010 through April 22, 2010 at Eli Klein Fine Art, located at 462 West Broadway, New York, NY 10012.