Stella Zhang

"Internal Landscape" in Palo Alto

Exhibition "Internal Landscape" by Stella Zhang

 Venue: Qualia Contemporary Art, Palo Alto, United States

Exhibition period: February 11 - April 2, 2021


Qualia Contemporary Art is presenting Internal Landscape, a solo exhibition by Chinese-American artist, Stella Zhang, featuring paintings, mixed media works and installation. The artist continues her ten-year exploration of the body with new works that act as a meditation on Zhang’s acute awareness of the internal and external body and how it not only carries consciousness, but intuition.


The exhibiting works in Internal Landscape were created while the artist was in quarantine for the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many, home became Zhang’s refuge and in her solitude, she began to notice the quiet tension that exists between the physical and the emotional. More tuned in to her sensitivities and energy, Zhang’s work in Internal Landscape focuses on how the body can be a grounding and reliable source of information. There is a flow of energy found not only between the works in the exhibition, but between those physically and metaphysically present.

Zhang has long used the body to explore identity, power, and equality however this exhibition marks a departure in her practices as the artist uses the quieting of external forces to strengthen her own sense of intuition and inner power. In her headlining work, Internal Landscape - Dorsa #1 -#9, Zhang combines nine smaller pieces into one large work that from a distance, looks like a Chinese ink painting. As one gets closer, the work’s spine and nervous system begin to reveal themselves, but like flowing ink, there are many parts of its internal body you can’t grab, but can feel. The works have an almost ephemeral quality to them, but are strengthened by the sharp tension and sense of life careening below the surface.

Materiality and process are extremely important in Zhang’ s practice. Classically trained, Zhang is known for her mastery of techniques used in atypical ways. Using Chinese brush painting and Japanese painting on fabric and rice paper, Zhang captures both a macro and micro view of the body in her work. Fabric and rice paper are often found in the artist’s practice because of their ability to be fragile, yet enduring, malleable, yet tough. The minimal works maintain a colorfield of black, white, red and tan, due to the artist’s desire to keep the focus on the subject matter.

The works in Internal Landscape are cathartic manifestations that use Zhang’s practice as a method of self-discovery. Zhang’s works tap into an ‘unspoken wisdom’ of her own body and to find peace and strength, we must listen and tune inwards.

Stella Zhang’s art expresses hidden conflicts that challenge our ability to connect to our shared struggles with power; inequality and identity. Her starting point is the human body and all aspects of human nature—the most basic truths. She chooses familiar and ordinary materials, that activate our memories and connect us with universal fears and desires. Stella’s work subtly engages viewers, stimulates conversation; and challenges us to question the boundaries and rules we accept.

Stella’s work has been exhibited in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and the United States; and is in the collections of the National Art Museum of China, in Beijing; The Xinxiang Museum, Henan, China; Tan Shin Fine Arts Museum, Tokyo, Japan; and numerous public and private collections. Seven monographs have been published about her works, and she has received many awards. Stella has been an Artist-in-Residence in Stanford University, and is a guest lecturer at Stanford University. She continues to teach at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.


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February 5, 2021
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