Tong Zhang

Tong Zhang's dark watercolor paintings bridge his personal memory with today’s life to raise a question, “what those given moments from daily life could mean?”. After moving to the US from China in 2011, he started to value his memory and devoted to contextualizing the moment of awareness and to revolving the sensation of certain memories through his practice. Tong is the recipient of many awards, including The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant 2017, The Sam and Adele Golden Foundation for Art Grant and George J. Vander Sluis Award. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, including Swansea College of Art, United Kingdom; Attleboro Arts Museum, USA; Tucson Museum of Art, USA; CAFA, China. He received a BFA in Printmaking and a MFA in Experimental Art from China and is a MFA candidate in studio art at Syracuse University.


What is the emptiness between physical objects about? Is it really existing or just mentally created inside of mind? If the space exists, how to reach the moment of emptiness? They are like a mysterious energy flowing around me, which makes my ordinary life full of potential of being sublime and opens a new way of looking that triggers a sense of curiosity and wonderment to the real-life. I always have a strong feeling that part of world has opened to me, but I never realize they existed. It is an experience that makes me step outside of lived daily life creating a moment that is both emptiness and awareness. The moment of emptiness is flowing between the physical objects. It is so uncertain that I have to find a way to approach the surface of the mystery. The moment of awareness transforms phenomena into mental energy, in which the normal ways of behaving, rules, laws no longer apply. Lived experience has been shifted to an awareness that the familiar part is disappearing and unknowing is left. I am defined by moments. The daily world to me is saturated with affects, sometimes it might be sufficient to isolate motifs in the everyday that are so basic that they capture the reality of basic emotions. I’m curious what has happened and what I was missing at the moments because I believe there is always a space to realizing the emotional potential