Born in Sydney, Australia.
Lives and works in Sydney, Australia.

Louise Zhang is a Chinese-Australian artist, whose multidisciplinary practice spans painting, sculpture and installation. Her work negates the space between the attractive and repulsive. With an interest in horror cinema, particularly body horror, Zhang investigates the idea of the visceral as medium, method and symbol in negotiating horror as art form.

“Louise Zhang creates objects that are designed to allure and repel. Depending on your proclivities, her paintings and sculptures could have either or both effects simultaneously. Zhang’s paintings and painted sculptures are blob-like in form, slippery in texture and lurid in colour. Their brightness and playfulness are striking and their ambivalent forms can be unnerving, in the same way that the wobble of jelly evokes terror in some.  In one sense Zhang’s works are entirely abstract – they do not represent forms from the real world. They are, however, representational in that their infinite mutability reflects that of the blob. If ‘the blob’ can be defined as a real object, then Zhang’s works are not so abstract after all.

 

Zhang is working in a long tradition of representing the grotesque in art. From Hieronymus Bosch’s early 16th century masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights, to Hogarth’s satirical etchings, right through to Patricia Piccinini’s hybrid silicone creatures, imagery of the not-quite-recognisable has always inspired conflicting responses of fascination and horror. When forms are somewhat bodily but not quite as we expect them to be, there is a response of fear and abjection. In Zhang’s work, an additional layer of confusion is introduced by her use of colour. Her saturated neon pigments are eye-catching, seductive, even cute and friendly… Her colour palette and playful sense of the grotesque take their cues both from art history and contemporary culture. The legacy of cartoons such as Ren and Stimpy, that bastion of gratuitous snot and slime and decaying flesh (which first aired the year Zhang was born), and the more sanitary but equally globular subaquatic world of SpongeBob SquarePants, can be seen in the icky textures and monstrous bulges of Zhang’s expanding polyurethane, silicone and enamel sculptures. We are initially attracted, which makes it all the more disturbing when we do come to contemplate the underlying forms and substances…”

Rebecca Gallo, Independent Arts Writer, 2015.

Louise Zhang completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours (First Class) at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales in 2013, before recently completing a Masters of Fine Arts by research at UNSW Art + Design in 2016.

Since 2012, Louise Zhang has been invited to exhibit as part of curated exhibitions including: Closing the Distance, curated by Sophia Cai, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre; From Old Ground, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery; Ereignis, curated by Lizzy Marshall, Cessnock Regional Gallery, Cessnock; Work, rest, PLAY!, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery;  Right Here, Right Now, Penrith Regional Art Gallery; Biggie Smalls, Casula Powerhouse and Chinese Whispers, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery. Louise has also collaborated on projects with institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (who invited her to curate MCA Art Bar in January 2017) and 4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (who commissioned Louise to create a work as part of their 2017 Chinese New Year program).

In 2017 Louise was invited to speak about her work as part of TedX Youth in Sydney. In 2019 she was commissioned by the City of Sydney to create a public artwork in the form of an eight meter high ‘Monkey Tower’ for the Lunar Lanterns Festival.

Louise has completed residencies  at The Green House in Fowlers Gap (Broken Hill), and with Throwdown Press in Paddington (Sydney). More recently she was awarded residencies via: the Australia Council for the Arts at the Institute of Provocation in Beijing, China, and the Two to Three Residency Program in association with Organhaus in Chongqing, China.

Louise has also been a finalist in numerous prestigious art prizes and was the winner of both the 2015 Fisher’s Ghost Art Award – Sculpture category and the 2015 Yen Staedtler Female Art Award. Her work has been exhibited at Sydney Contemporary, Melbourne Art Fair and Art Central Hong Kong, and can be found in numerous private collections both nationally and internationally.

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Louise Zhang_The Pure land_2018_oil and acrylic on canvas_102 x 76cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_Sinners into fragments_2018_acrylic, oil on plywood_90 x 60cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_Hungry ghosts_2018_acrylic, oil on plywood_90 x 60cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_ Lend me a hand_2018_acrylic, oil on plywood, rope_54 x 90cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_Pick me a peach and place it on my body_2017_acrylic, oil on plywood, rope_140cm x 57cm. Photograph by Zan Wimberley. Louise Zhang_Soft Horror #3_2017_digital print on polyester, acrylic rod_420cm x 90cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_Soft Horror #5_2017_digital print on polyester, acrylic rod_420cm x 90cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_Soft Horror #4_2017_digital print on polyester, acrylic rod_420cm x 90cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_Soft Horror #1_2017_digital print on polyester, acrylic rod_190cm x 87cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_Soft Horror #2_2017_digital print on polyester, acrylic rod_190cm x 87cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_Feed you pink #1_2018_polyurethane, resin, spray paint, acrylic paint, foam clay_49 x 46 x 43cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_The Devils Crayons #10_2018_polyurethane, resin, spray paint, acrylic paint, foam clay_18x50x 28cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_Feed you pink #3_2018_polyurethane, resin, spray paint, acrylic paint, foam clay_82 x 27 x 13. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_Feed you pink #4_201_ polyurethane, resin, spray paint, acrylic paint, foam clay. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_The Devils Crayons #5_2018_polyurethane, resin, spray paint, acrylic paint, foam clay, synthetic flowers_29 x 28 x 20cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_The Devils Crayons #4_2018_polyurethane, resin, spray paint, acrylic paint, foam clay, synthetic flowers_32 x 14 x 14cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang_The Devils Crayons #2_2018_polyurethane, resin, spray paint, acrylic paint, foam clay, synthetic flowers_23 x 26 x 13cm and 42 x 20 x 15cm. Photograph by Felicity Jenkins. Louise Zhang, We're all gonna burn in hell for a little bit, 2016, acrylic, oil and plastic on plywood and mdd, 100 x 112 cm Louise Zhang, Pinky, 2015, Polyfoam, polyurethane, enamel, glitter, resin, plastic and glass, 35 x 49 x 29cm Louise Zhang, Clyde, 2016, Plywood, acrylic paint, oil paint, polyurethane, Epoxy clay, 120 x 47cm Louise Zhang,_Ghoul_2016_Plywood, acrylic paint, oil paint, polyurethane, Epoxy clay_120 x 47cm Louise Zhang, Ascent of the Blob, 2016, Acrylic, oil, glitter and resin on canvas, 183 x 107cm Louise Zhang, Phantom Underground, 2015, Acrylic, oil, glitter and resin on canvas, 152 x 91cm Install shot. Monstrous Masses, 2016. Image courtesy of Zan Wimberley. Install shot. Monstrous Masses, 2016. Image courtesy of Zan Wimberley. Louise Zhang, Inferno (Maquette), 2016, Plywood, acrylic paint, oil paint, Perspex, resin, glitter, plastic, metal hinges, 170 x 237 x 3cm Louise Zhang_I went to mars and the isolation and red speckled solar winds eroded my sanity and it was beautiful_2015_foam, clay, acrylic, polyurethane, glass stamens, foam stamens, plastics 45 x 55 x 45cm Louise Zhang_Stickypop_2015_acrylic, oil and plastics on plywood_62 x 62cm Louise Zhang_...it came from Goo Lagoon_2015_acrylic, oil and plastics on plywood_125 x 126cm SLOSH SAMPLES #1 _2014 flubber, pva glue, acrylic, oil paint, resin plastics, polymer balls, polymer clay, pigment, water, varnish, 100ml serum vials 61 x 47 x 9cm SLOSH SAMPLES #2 _2014 flubber, pva glue, acrylic, oil paint, resin plastics, polymer balls, polymer clay, pigment, water, varnish, 100ml serum vials 61 x 47 x 9cm installation view courtesy Brett East Plomp, installation view, 2014, photograph courtesy of Brett East. Plomp, installation view, 2014, photograph courtesy of Brett East. Plomp, installation view, 2014, photograph courtesy of Brett East.