Louise Zhang

Forecast

Louise Zhang’s technicolor paintings and neon-flecked sculptures are a front for something far more sinister than their sugary sheen may suggest.

By CHLOÉ WOLIFSON

Like lollies in a supermarket aisle, the acid-bright colours of Louise Zhang’s paintings and sculptures appeal to the eye. However, closer examination reveals a grotesque amorphousness camouflaged by this candied surface. Zhang experiments with paint and unconventional materials to create blobs that meld the monstrous with the cute.

In 2016, the busy young artist holds her second solo exhibition at Sydney’s Artereal Gallery. This follows a jam-packed 2015 that included group exhibitions at Casula Powerhouse, Penrith Regional Gallery and Bathurst Regional Gallery. Zhang, who’s an MFA candidate at the University of New South Wales, also recently took out the Sculpture category of the Fisher’s Ghost Art Prize as well as the Yen STAEDTLER Female Artist Award. VAULT spoke with Zhang to find out what’s behind the slime.

WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO IN YOUR STUDIO?
I play around with materials that are usually found in special effects. That stuff is really rich in possibilities. It’s just me playing around and seeing what I can make, and how slimy it can get.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT OUTSIDE THE STUDIO?
I watch a lot of horror films. I really like [the] fantastical, like Pan’s Labyrinth, and anything by [David] Cronenberg. I find body horror really inspiring. I like it when I see the character transforming into something unimaginable.

I’m a big fan of SpongeBob. Who knew SpongeBob could be such a big influence in my life? It’s seriously one of the most grotesque cartoons out there [but] probably not as grotesque as Ren and Stimpy, one of the... Subscribe to read this article in full

Purchase a pdf download of this issue (AUD$10)

Prefer a hard copy? Visit our subscription page to purchase single printed back issues.