by Zhang Yirong, calligraphy by Tai Xiangzhou, 2010
ink on paper
Framed size: Height 22 inches (55.9 cm.); Width 65 inches (165.1 cm.)
Image size: Height 11 ½ inches (27.9 cm.); Width 49 ¾ inches (124.5 cm.)
Zhang Yirong is known for her quietly sophisticated flower paintings. Hidden within each study are evocative details of fluttering petals and quivering leaves. She strictly follows traditional Song Dynasty techniques of direct observation and dedicated study of nature by frequenting China’s botanical gardens and parks throughout the seasons. Zhang’s paintings are well-known for being technically exacting with a poetic charm. The paper for her paintings is handmade using a 10th century technique providing a silk-like quality. The paper allows her Qianglong-era ink to achieve a nuanced spectrum of blacks. Her work is accompanied with calligraphy of Song dynasty writings by her husband, Tai Xiangzhou. Zhang layers thin washes of ink to create form and shape, and constructs a light outline of each flower, giving her work a soft and elegant atmosphere.
Zhang was born in 1979 in Shanxi, China. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Communication University of China (CUC) in 2001 and graduated from Peking University (PKU) with a Master of Arts degree in 2008. She has been learning classical Chinese painting under the instruction of Liu Dan since 2005. Zhang Yirong lives and works in Beijing.