Lingling Zhao’s practice is at the intersection of modern painting, mysticism, and traditional Chinese iconography and philosophy luminously expressed in a series of unique imaginary worlds

Artist Statement

In my contemporary practice one can see a myriad of influences and technical practices coming together to generate a world that is between that of the natural world and the imagined or spiritual realm.

While I paint realistic images I am connected to the ideas of the power of natural energy, metaphor, and imagination within painting. I was born, raised, and educated in China and the field of traditional Chinese arts has great influence on not only my personal outlook but my artwork.

My father was an architect, and one of my earliest childhood memories is a locked wooden box, full of artwork, it was like a magic paradise for me, prompting me to wonder if there was more in this world that I could not see, things that were hidden from my eyes? I found myself interested in Chinese classical painting, wherein the beauty of painting is often combined with poetry. Imagine the focus to be the essential character or quality of the subject, rather than pure representation.
Often this genre goes past single perspective or viewpoints, rather there are multiple narratives and sets of symbols. In my own work, I experiment with this idea of multiplicity of representation and meaning. This concept is explored in work such as The Energy, The Banyan Tree, Stream of Dancers, and Detached from the Material World.

In an abstract way, my painting approaches the ideas behind quantum physics such as the concept that we live in a world of thought which creates matter. I like to think of my artistic process as energy that first forms in my mind’s eye, and is revealed through sketches, photographs and even photoshop experimentation, slowly becoming a painting. The theme of my work is related to balance and harmony in Tao, the way – the means to achieve this harmony. In my paintings one can see the symbols of Ying and Yang, reflecting the balance of the active and receptive, shown in my work as cycles of life, nature, imagery of chaos and material energy taking place in my imaginative cosmos.

While my work is not religious or political per se it serves to appeal universally to all people, functioning as a means to self-awareness and connection to creative energy. I want to create artwork that enlighten peoples, painting that conveys the idea that we are in charge of our own thoughts and happiness and stirring the belief that there is the creator’s in each one of us. We, as human are all souls with bodies, not body with souls. We came to earth to learn our lessons and to evolve in the spiritual realm. Simply put, there is energy in all of us, and all things around us have their own vibration and we are all connected to each other. I want to paint the intangible connections between all matters around us and the universe. As a contemporary working artist, I embrace the freedom one has to experiment in various mediums, as envision the role of my work as a portal to awaken the power of human experience, spiritual awareness and as well what unites humankind.