"The artworks for these prints come from a solo exhibition, ‘Art eats its young’ shown at Artereal Gallery. The body of work developed over a sort of (constant) mental dilemma over my position as a Chinese-Australian artist growing up in a very Western religious environment. The conflict between my morals, position on religion and lack of education over Chinese traditions and folklores made me, as a Chinese-Australian person what to learn more about Chinese superstitions, mythology and culture which conflicted with my family’s faith. I guess you could say it was a way for me to try and reconcile with it all in the creative way I knew."
- Louise Zhang
Portrait by Levon Baird
“As soon as The Social Outfit reached out to me I was 100% on board! I’ve been aware of TSO for a while and really admire what they stand for and how they ACTIVELY support migrants and refugees. I come from a migrant family and have experienced the hardship – both financial and emotional, the difficulty and racism faced towards BIPOC people. My parents have quite literally given up everything so that I could have a privilege life. My dad gave up his dream to be a teacher so that I could be an artist. For that, I am eternally grateful. But what they have achieved took so much resilience, determination and generosity. This is a very small way to give back."
- Louise Zhang
Louise Zhang is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice spans painting, sculpture and installation. With an interest in horror cinema, particularly the body horror genre, Zhang is interested in the dynamics between the attractive and repulsive. By exploring how themes of perceived innocence such as prettiness and cuteness can be contrasted with notions of the perverse and monstrous, Zhang explores the intersection of fear, anxiety and a sense of otherness in the construction of identity.
Exhibition photos by Zan Wimberley
About Art eats its young:
Referencing this Taoist mythology, Zhang’s new paintings, sculptures and scroll-like banners incorporate demons, dismembered body parts and organs drawn from anatomy books, and cartoon-like ‘gore’ – overlaid with delicate illustrations of peonies, koi fish, scholar rocks and lunar imagery – all painted in the artists signature sugary palette. The resulting visual cacophony (a disjointed and disorientating mash-up of symbols and imagery) represents an attempt on Zhang’s part to reconcile and make sense of the fissures and contradictions that define her own identity. As a ‘third culture kid’ with a strict Christian upbringing, Zhang was discouraged from engaging with or learning about the superstitions that form such an inherent part of Chinese mythology and culture. Likewise, her teenage love of western horror films and gothic subculture, and her art making practice in general, were derided by her family as being sources of anxiety and depression. By researching and integrating these seemingly disparate sources of artistic inspiration into her latest series of works, Zhang documents her attempts at both constructing and deconstructing her own personal and cultural identity.