Tornado Warning includes one site-specific room installation, one large scroll painting and three small framed charcoal drawings  Zhang combines her gorgeous long hair drawings with iconic American midwest tornados to create a surrealistic visual experience.

“Born and raised in China, I have had long hair since high school, and it has become my defining characteristic. Despite my personal bond with long hair, I did not incorporate it into my artwork until I moved to America during my graduate studies at the UC Davis.  My first long hair series was about my personal identity and family portraits. I used disembodied images of long, straight, black hair as a reference to my evolving identity. The results are black and white charcoal drawings produced on a massive scale with fine details.

After I moved to Lawrence in 2004, my work began to take on a different dimension based on my new home.  I fell in love with the open plains of Kansas and started to draw and paint iconic places such as the Flint Hills and prairie waves of hair with round hay bales.  My current work shifts from gentle waves of grain to the disquieting and chaotic rush of a tornado. Kansas weather, like life, is unpredictable and I have learned to adjust and appreciate it.  My room installation piece includes ten large paintings (each 9’ x 3’, acrylic on canvas) connected as one single folded Chinese screen painting in a 30ft long half circle. Inside is a horizontally painted tornado hair image. Viewers are invited to walk into the whirlwind of hair and be surrounded by the swirling storm, creating the sensation of being inside the moving tornado.  The other works in this show (one large scroll painting and three small charcoal drawings) depict a massive tornado from a distance. However, upon closer inspection, each stroke becomes a peaceful strand of hair. Although tornadoes are dangerous and unpredictable, they are also beautiful and dynamic.

Hong Chun Zhang, 2018

Location: Haw Contemporary Stockyards

Hong Chun Zhang, 2018

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