“I don’t let the passion become overprotective. I want to be always exploring and learning.”
– Zehui Ni
We expect an artist to create out of passion, and even at the tender age of 18, Zehui Ni exemplifies that commitment with an impressive display of technique and accomplishment. Ni doesn’t have a TV in her living space, because she would rather spend her time sculpting, which she describes as, “the ultimate form of entertainment.” She started sculpting seven years ago and hasn’t stopped, spending eight hours a day making art.
Ni is clear about the attraction of the medium, and she talks about, “…clay’s soft and forgiving qualities when moist, the dried dusty surfaces, the small pieces falling and piling up on the floor from a ribbon tool, to its cracking, crumbling, and collapsing…I find my life’s passion in in the cold, smooth, and moist blocks of clay; the high fire that dries white on my palms, the raven stoneware brown that hides deep between my fingernails, or the terracotta stains on my feet after wedging. But I don’t let the passion become overprotective. I want to be always exploring and learning. Marbleize, matte, china paint, each new technique excites me. I embrace it all.”
Her work in clay is highly detailed, with a level of development that only comes from such single-minded dedication, but there is also an assured embrace of the conceptual that drives her work outside of that medium, as in the mixed media constructions of “Porcelain Nights (Lantern Piece)”, or ”Red Birds on Violin”.
Ni explores fearlessly, a nascent artist whose work shows limitless potential, and we can see her overtly acknowledging her influences. Her use of Asian motifs ties a reverential attitude to nature to a contemporary aesthetic that extends to multi-media installation. Yet Ni’s relationship to her work is far from academic; she expresses almost a symbiotic connection with the clay, describing her process in nurturing terms that equate brushing water onto the clay with bathing an infant. It is an elemental, empathetic understanding of medium that borders on the spiritual.
Zehui Ni is Member of Louisville Visual Art and The National Council On Education For The Ceramic Arts. She is currently traveling outside of the U.S, but will be entering the Art Center College of Design in Chicago in January 2017
2016 – Sharron Art Center Gallery “Charity Art Exhibition” South Brunswick, NJ. USA.
2016 – Norma E. Brown Gallery “Aurora” Louisville, KY. USA.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: Alumni LVA Children’s Fine Art Classes, graduated from duPont Manual High School's Visual Art Magnet.
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.