Pebbles, Orange and Violet by Vivien Zhang


Vivien Zhang



Acrylic, oil, and spray paint on canvas


140 x 160 cm


In her painting Pebbles, Orange and Violet, Vivien Zhang reveals playful relationships between the real and the digital. Within this painting, optical illusions and repetitions create many layers of reality. At the top, a page seems to peel back, revealing a template pattern underneath. Colour gradients – surprisingly aligned with Swiss Re’s colours – travel down the canvas like a sunset into the ocean. These are overlaid with the short white vertical and horizontal lines that graphic designers use as guides both on screen and in print, creating play between the digital and physical.

The primary repeated form, though, is that of pebbles. Pebbles are known for their uniqueness: each one is slightly different in shape or texture. Here, though, Zhang depicts only two pebbles, and they are repeated, split and mirrored. She reminds us that although we are now used to seeing astounding transformations through computing and the digital, there is magic in the imagination translated through the hand.



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