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Zeng Fanzhi

Zeng Fanzhi (1964 Wuhan) is one of China's most dynamic and expressive painters. Unlike many of the other well-known Chinese painters, Zeng's subjects are not political but psychological. His series of paintings, about hospitals, meat and masked figures, as well as his latest series of portraits set along the coast, are powerful, expressive pieces that hint at the psychological state of man -- or woman -- in the modern world, and perhaps the inner psyche of the artist. His works have been called apocalyptic or dark portraits of reality. They are images of sickness, cruelty, pain and longing. In his well-known "Mask" series, Zeng's figures wear a white mask; they are mostly well-dressed urbanites, but they have large, strange hands, weird expressions, blank stares or puzzling eyes. His works often have sharp brush strokes, or even slashing strokes that reveal tensions in what might be seen in a splintered universe.