The Magic Of Spontaneous Expressions --Kevin Liang
Tiffany Zhu is a modern day action painter. Her paintings are full of the unknown. Each picture has no focus point- colors are carefully mated and displayed with glowing vitality. Like the various plants and trees in a forest, they depend on each other and live in different forms. Sometimes her paintings consist of brightly colored and blended color blocks or lines that frame the main structure of the work.
Tiffany Zhu paints in her studio
Although Tiffany's method of making painting is rooted in abstraction, most of her paintings are full of graphic characters and symbolic gesture. She has completed what she has long sought: the true reciprocity between the image and the abstract, one that appears in the other. She once said, “Abstract forms carry tremendous strength and can move your energy in mysterious way. Recognizable content is only part of creation, and it is not always needed. I may spend many days, weeks in the mystery of the unformed. As long as I am at peace and interested, I don’t need to question it or care about what other people like it or not.”
Dialogue 2019 Mixed medium on canvas 56" x 60"
In the many years that I have known Tiffany Zhu, our conversations have ranged from painting techniques to the history and philosophy of art. Tiffany often compares her paintings to her daughter’s fencing. She says that just as fencing helps her daughter gain confidence in school and life, so does painting help her gain confidence and find herself. Different exercises, same goal.
Throughout her career, Tiffany has refurbished paintings - elements of color, lines, clarity and texture - and her work feels very modern, keeping up with the times. When I first learned about her work, I was surprised that her color matching was unique. Tiffany also has a very confident and pleasant color feeling. It is similar to a combination of musical chords and notes that directly affects our emotions. Her orchestras of lemon yellow, cobalt purple, cyan blue, yellow meteorite, spring green, and foam pink are full of harmony and humor.
Pink, Orange and Green 2016 oil on canvas 36" x 48"
Tiffany is always gentle, honest and friendly. You can experience this warm and simple temperament directly from her works. She uses the brush as her extension, and her arms, shoulders, wrists and fingers are more convincing than other painters of her age. She has a deep love and recognition of art, which I believe is the true source of her work. Art is everything for Tiffany. She is an integrator and has always been aware of her artistic potential. She dissolves her energy and passion directly into the paint itself and then transfers it to a brush or knife.
Embrace 2019 mixed medium on canvas 48" x 60"
Tiffany often uses two different modes anchored in her choice of tools: one involves all manner of marks executed with traditional brushes, from slapping to fanning to line drawing; the other is achieved by scratching, dragging and drawing with a palette knife and soft stick crayons. These works have a tremendous breadth that ranges from the solidity “ Purple House” to the ethereal flutter of “ Untitled “. These agile paintings are built from a procession of shapes with the lilting, fluttering quality of banners and flags moving with the wind. These paintings are lighter than the solid works, and more elusive, they evoke dreams of flight. All these basic elements of painting, the strangeness of the visual and the surprise of picturing it— what a lot of pleasure is to be had there.
What is this thing I am making, her work asks, and how can it represent me in all my complexity? Tiffany once told me: “ In creative painting, the defining moment is when you face the fertile white void. Your openness and courage to step into the void with the spirit of exploration are all that matter. The power of painting lies in the creative process itself, not in the resulting product. When I began to paint, I did not know which direction I was going. I just listened to the magic of the inner voice and followed my instincts to experiment with the new, the unknown, the mysterious, and the hidden. Most of the times, I even did not title my paintings after I finished. The creative process is enough.It is the process itself that is at the heart of my desire to paint. “ Every conversation never makes me bored. It is always fresh and exciting. After the conversation, we all had the excitement and wanted to return to the studio to paint.