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Reception for artist Naijun Zhang closes exhibit

2011 exhibit
"Organic Fruits" by Naijun Zhang. The 30" x 24" oil on linen won a Juror's Choice award at the annual National Juried Art Exhibition.
8/30/2011 —


Artist's Reception and Show Closing:
5:00-7:00 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29, Art Gallery

A reception for Chinese artist Naijun Zhang is set for 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29 in the Penn State New Kensington Art Gallery. The event coincides with the closing of his show that has been running throughout September.

Zhang, assistant professor of painting at West Virginia University, is a veteran of one-man shows and group exhibitions throughout the United States and China. Working with oil on linen or canvas, Zhang paints ordinary people going about their daily activities. His style is socialist realism, which he learned at the Nanjing Art Institute in China. 

Zhang's works have been displayed at OK Harris Works of Art in New York, Michael Berger Gallery in Pittsburgh, Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts in Tallahassee, and the Shanghai Exhibition Center and Jiangsu Provincial Museum of Art in China.

"Naijun is an extraordinary artist I have been trying to get in the gallery for some time," said Bud Gibbons, professor of visual arts at the New Kensington campus and director of the art gallery. "His catalog is excellent."

He learned the socialist realism style at the Nanjing Art Institute in China. The artists and professors he studied under during the Cultural Revolution were influenced by Russian Academic Realists, who introduced the method to China. Socialist realism portrays works of social concern, such as the poor.
"My experience growing up during the Chinese Cultural Revolution is visually expressed in these paintings," said Zhang, who joined the WVU faculty in 1999. "They not only produce a multifaceted portrait of China with contradictions but also show a respect for this mythical world of my formative years. My aim in these paintings is to examine the tradition of Socialist Realist painting and cultural forces of the Cultural Revolution and bring perspective on people who may see the world only from one viewpoint."

The exhibit and the reception are free to the public. The Art Gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. weekends.

The monthly exhibits at the Penn State New Kensington Art Gallery have been finalized for 2011-12.

The fall series continues in October with a multi-media exhibit of Marilyn Rea. November features the art works by students from the Oakbridge Academy, and the fall series concludes in December with the annual display by the East Suburban Artists' Association.

The spring semester exhibits include the "Women of Visions" exhibit in January and February, Alle-Kiski Arts Consortium in March and Penn State New Kensington students in April. The series concludes in May with "Paintings," the annual showing of selected works of Bud Gibbons, professor of visual arts at the New Kensington campus.

All exhibits are free to the public. The gallery is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. weekends.

For information on the Art Gallery, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/Academics/43828.htm online.

"Street Basketball, oil on canvas, 17 5/8" x 18 5/8"             

"Tibetan Shoppers," oil on linen, 20" x 16"

Monthly Art Exhibits 2011-12

October: Marilyn Rea
November: Oakbridge Academy
December: East Suburban Artists League (ESAL)
January-February: Women of Visions
March: Alle-Kiski Arts Consortium-High School Students
April: Penn State Students
May: Bud Gibbons "Paintings"


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