Wang employs dynamic colours, designs of food packaging and everyday visuals to describe a world of visual overload and accelerating commodification. The striking bright colours are immediately immersive, at once proving how easily our attention can be grabbed by commercialised imagery. The balanced compositions are simultaneously energised by the variety of imagery sources from familiar advertisement logos to Old Master paintings. Each subject is executed in a different pictorial manner, further enhancing the visual flatness and two-dimensionality of each work.
Though at first glance Wang’s compositions may suggest a superficial meaning, beyond the cartoonish depictions of food packaging, wallpaper patterns intermixed with traditional Chinese motifs lies a complexity of narrative threads. Wang’s compositions propose a typology of image regimes, each of which establishes relationships that can be traced across diverse cultural contexts. The artist examines images that encapsulate the motivations of commercialised visuals that are specifically designed to capture our immediate attention. Wang herself is primarily attracted to intensely saturated colours and patterns, which frequently remind her of her childhood, reminiscent of toys or sweet wrappers.
Ziping Wang, Untitled Summer, 2021, Oil on canvas, 60 cm x 60 cm
Still lives, saturated tonal palette, pop cultural and art historical references are all blended together to create kaleidoscopic collage-like paintings that mirror the multi-faceted contemporary mindset. The compositional cocktail renders the work to appear as an almost abstract painting, although as Wang herself explains; “My work is neither abstract nor representational because although you may see things that you recognise, they are not what they represent. So, you may see strawberries or pretzels but the painting is not actually about strawberries or pretzels, it’s about this overload of information and anxiousness.”
Wang’s artistic process normally commences during a trip to the grocery store or a visit to a museum where she picks out visuals that have spontaneously stood out to her. She then prints the selected images to create a handmade collage, examining how each cutout interacts and overlays with the other. With a clear cut composition in mind Wang skillfully employs oil paints to create an airbrushed and harmonious aesthetic of surface consistency and uniformity. She then fills the empty spaces with areas of grey and white gridding, resulting in an image that mimics the process of a printer to replicate the flawlessness of a digitally rendered image.
More often than not, the images that we encounter daily on virtual and social platforms are highly edited. Thus, to further document and emphasize how highly modified consumer imagery is, for Wang it is important to draw attention to traces of editing within her own work. The artist states, “as a painter, I’m interested in the elusive nature of modified reality. I use my paintings to document these modifications”. By simultaneously revealing and concealing different fields of imagery, the editing process becomes an integral part of the painting. Hintingat the evasive line between the authentic and distorted reality that we experience when viewing the world through the digital lens.