A painting of figures outside in a fruit market doing a variety of actions

Rachel Zhang, Fruit Market in the Government's Garden (2021). oil on canvas. 72 x 60 in.

Rachel Zhang is an artist working primarily in painting and video/animation. She graduated with a BFA from The Cooper Union in 2020. Her work centers around a fascination with human actions and psychology in relation to systems of power, social roles, and moral questions and evolutions that structure societies. Within paintings of absurdist figurative scenes in public spaces, figures are often in states of distortion and transformation to reflect upon existential anxieties and questions of personal autonomy, especially of gendered bodies. The actions of the figures in her work are informed by archetypal roles from myths/history and current events, social psychology experiments including those regarding conformity and obedience to authority, shadows of personal and family histories such as the Cultural Revolution in China and Asian American history, and satirical and dystopian fiction stories. Working with imagined figures and narrative scenes in painting, drawing, and video is her way of making sense of human relationships and actions with their tenderness and cruelties, and of digesting the cycles of history that have brought us to the present day.