Shi Zhiying @ James Cohan Gallery, Shanghai

Palomar Observatory
James Cohan Gallery Shanghai is currently presenting the solo exhibition The Infinite Lawn by Shanghai-based artist Shi Zhiying.

Known for her stark black and white paintings depicting vast views of the sea, endless landscapes of scattered rocks, traditional sand gardens and intricate blades of grass, Shi’s paintings are at once deeply visceral and contemplative.

Palomar - Forward I

The exhibition features Shi Zhiying’s recent project Palomar, a set of 30 watercolor and ink works inspired by the book Mr. Palomar by Italian writer Italo Calvino (1923-1985). The novel’s central character, whose name also evokes that of a famous observatory, continuously makes philosophical observations and speculations about the world around him—a wave, the rays of the sun, a pair of turtles, a sand garden—all leading to ruminations on the nature of things and Being towards the universal. Each of Shi’s 27 works corresponds to a chapter.

The Infinite Lawn

 The centerpiece to the exhibition, The Infinite Lawn, is a large scale painting which also refers to one of the novel’s key chapters. The Grass painting series was started in 2010. As in Shi’s earlier seascape paintings or her recent Mars and Sand series, grass is one of the motifs the artist keeps returning to, eliminating all that is inessential and to further distill its essential characteristic.

Palomar - The Sand Garden