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Sophie Zhang

MA work

Vessels of the Deep

Infatuated with a 4000-year-old Chinese vessel, I made abstract drawings and paintings, from which I developed sculptures, then returned to painting the drawings of my own sculptures. 

As I constantly redefining the source of interest and progressing between drawing, painting and sculpting, the vessels depicted are not only drawn out of deep time but serve of meditations for this quality of time's absence. They are ciphers for the surrender to the paradoxes contained within the secret of the present. The vessels both stand and float, they expand and contract but always retain the feeling of the absent centre. 


  • MA Degree


    School of Arts & Humanities


    MA Painting, 2018

  • My paintings attempt to solicit from the experience of temporality an abstract diagram, to stage a relationship between the play of objects and the traces of language. There is within this a play of the syntax of drawing, painting and sculpting in my practice, in order to create a meeting point between imagination and memory.

    While my subject matter, recently being influenced by a 4000-year-old Chinese vessel from the V&A Museum, serves as ciphers for an experience of time (and fascination) that touches the threshold of memory, the graphical and painterly syntax is drawn from a more immediate Modernist memory. So the abstract diagram of time is drawn from the triangulation of archaic, modernist and contemporary periods. 

    Thus each painting emerges out of strife between oblivion and recollection: for each mark or shape there are traces of lines that cannot surface as visibility yet are somehow retained. Trace here might imply a sense of a pulse that is outside the theatre of signification. The cross over point between emptiness and presence is like an invisible bridge that might be understood as a pulse so the attempt here is to figure such crossing over points. 

  • Degrees

  • BA Fine Art, Slade School of Fine Art (UCL), 2016
  • Experience

  • Tour guide at the National Gallery and Tate Modern, Free Lance, London, 2016 - 2018
  • Exhibitions

  • Nostalgia, Art Number 23, London, 2018; Flourishing Growth, Store Street Gallery, London, 2018; Thumbnails, Hockney Gallery, London, 2018; Camberwell Art Festival, Alley Gallery, London, 2018; FBA Futures 2017, Mall Galleries, London, 2017; Paper Cuts, Transition Gallery, London, 2016
  • Awards

  • Chadwell Award 2018, Shortlisted, 2018; Sir Andrew Taylor Prize, Awardee, 2015