My paintings deal with personal and collective emotions of being a first-generation immigrant in America, revolving around themes of alienation, displacement, and self-contradiction. I use a deconstructed and allegorical approach to create my painted scenes, incorporating my memories and experiences of my native country, China, as well as my current residence in America. My past experience during the Cultural Revolution in China, a time of social unrest, widespread propaganda, violence, and expected obedience to authority, has informed the underlying mood of my paintings and my questions of the place of the individual self in relation to its society. In my work I am interested in dualisms and tensions between the preservation of history and erasure, belonging and alienation, and material body and soul. I juxtapose symbols of construction, detritus, ritual, and ambivalence to reference my Chinese American immigrant experience and personal emotions that are in flux alongside historical and contemporary social environments.
Furong Zhang was born and raised in Shanghai, China during the Cultural Revolution. In 1977 he attended the Shanghai Normal University, majoring in oil painting. He received his MFA from Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing in 1987. In 1989, Zhang was part of the controversial first China Avant-Garde art show at Beijing's National Fine Art Museum. During that time he participated in various exhibitions held at the Beijing and Shanghai Fine Art Museums. Since immigrating to America in 1989, he has attended residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and exhibited nationally and internationally at various museums and galleries, including Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Bellefonte Art Museum, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, and Yale University. He currently lives and works in central Pennsylvania.
Education and Residencies
2023 Fountainhead Residency, Miami, Fl
2021 Skowhegan Alumni Residency, Maine
1989 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine
1987 MFA, Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing, China
1982 BFA, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China
2022 “Crossing the Dry Sea”, Gallery 456, New York, NY
"Clash in Nirvana", SPRING/BREAK Art Show, New York, NY
2021 “Scenes from a Metamorphosis”, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, New York, NY
2019 Satellite Art Show, Brooklyn, NY
Satellite Art Show, Miami, FL
1999 Yale University, CT
1998 Middle Tennessee State University, TN (two-person)
1990 Z Gallery, New York
Selected Group Exhibitions
2022 "Into the Light", Bellefonte Art Museum, Pennsylvania
"Helter Swelter", Quality Coins Gallery, Joshua Tree, California
Lore Degenstein Gallery, Susquehanna University, Pennsylvania
2021 “Twice in a Lifetime”, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine
2019 Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Japan
2018 Miao Art Space, Shanghai, China
2009 Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China
2006 Gallery North, New York
1996 Asian American Arts Center, New York
1994 Gallery at Park West, New York
1993 Sudderth Art International, Florida
1990 Muse Gallery, Massachusetts
1989 "China/ Avant-Garde Exhibition", National Fine Art Museum, Beijing, China
Galerie Werner Milletin, Germany
1988 Shanghai Fine Art Museum, Shanghai, China
1987 Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing, China
1986 National Fine Art Museum, Beijing, China
1985 National Fine Art Museum, Beijing, China
Shanghai Fine Art Museum, Shanghai, China
National Fine Art Museum, Beijing, China
National Treasure Museum, Japan
Selected Publications & Press
The Hopper Prize, Furong Zhang Interview, 2021. (https://hopperprize.org/furong-zhang-interview/ )
SVA Visual Arts Journal, Spring/Summer 2020 Vol.28, Art Space Oddity
New York Magazine, The Cut, Meet 10 Emerging Artists, 2019.
Eyes Towards the Dove: Contemporary Art & Culture, You Are the Rider & the Horse, 2019.
Canvas, Brooklyn: Furong Zhang interview, 2019.
HocTok, What Matters by Furong Zhang, 2019.
Awards and Honors
2021 Hopper Prize, Finalist
1989 Fellowship for Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
1985 Second Place, National Fine Art Exhibition of Youth, Beijing, China