Zhang Fan, who studied at Beijing’s renowned Central Academy of Fine Arts, is a master post-impressionist. The 37 year old Fujian artist beautifully renders his oil paintings in soft colours, with brushstrokes that are bold, but delicate at the same time. The delicate sensitivity of his oil paintings causes many people to think he is a female artist. To that Zhang says:” Some say that my paintings are a little feminine, but while painting them, I don’t consciously aim for that; I just want to express my feelings.”
Like other contemporary Chinese artists Zhang Fan is also partly inspired by the changing of the society around him from traditional to modern. The artist likes to fuse typically Chinese subject-matter, especially old buildings, with people’s modern life-styles. In the foreground of his paintings, he usually paints figures, giving his works a warm and quiet atmosphere that is, as the artist puts it, “full of the breath of life”.
Zhang purposely alters the appearance of the women who pose for him, as he focuses on the essence of the appearance rather than the reality of what he sees. Zhang’s brush strokes underline the most appealing attributes in each one of his models. But further than just to depicting their beauty, Zhang strives to capture the inner personality of the figures that he chooses to paint.
For Zhang Fan it is hard to say if his artworks are “Chinese” or “Western”. He states: “Every oil painting in China was born with a unification between the East and the West.”